Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow
Director: Jay Roach
Well, I’ve seen a lot of movies be recognized for their positive and negative traits, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that will be remembered for its makeup the way that Bombshell will be. Sure the performances are fine and the story is funny enough to keep a sensitive subject light, but the makeup really just takes the movie over the edge. There’s still some problems with Bombshell, specifically with the way it humanizes people who willingly went along with horrific actions for years, but the overall quality of the movie is solid enough to earn the accolades that it’s earned so far.
The film follows Megyn Kelly (Theron), Gretchen Carlson (Kidman), and Kayla Pospisil (Robbie), three women employees at Fox News. While they’re all at different points of their career, all of them have one thing in common; Roger Ailes (Lithgow). Ailes is the CEO of Fox News and is notorious for sexually harassing all of his female employees. Over the course of 108 minutes, we watch as all three of these women risk their careers to deal with the harassment in their own way that leads to eventual true downfall of Ailes in position of power. Starting off with the obvious, I’m stunned with the way they were able to make Theron look exactly like Megyn Kelly. When the first trailer was released for this movie, I had to do a double-take to make sure it wasn’t the real Megyn Kelly. It’s incredible to see an actress be completely transformed into someone else and that’s where the real magic of this movie truly lies. When this makeup is combined with three fantastic performances from the women cast then on the very basis you have a foundation for an interesting and enticing movie. The main issue this movie has is the way it has to humanize controversial people for the sake of making Ailes the main antagonist. Specifically, there are scenes where the Murdoch family shows that Ailes has always been on a short leash and when all these reports come out the family swoops in to fire him and save the day. In reality, this family is the cause of the rise of right-wing propaganda and dividing the American discourse. Doing one thing right doesn’t take away a lifetime of terrible things that have happened as a result of their desire to control the media and manipulate people into believing what the Murdochs want them to believe. Outside of them, let’s not forget that Kelly and Carlson promoted this agenda for their entire careers. Do they deserve the harassment they dealt with at their jobs? Of course not. Does this mean they’re innocent from the chaos the Murdoch’s have caused? I think you know the answer. If this was a complete work of fiction then maybe I could get behind some of the emotional trauma displayed here, but knowing that some crucial details are left out doesn’t do these women justice. Kelly may have been represented most accurately here, but since many of us watched these events unfold in real-time, Bombshell can’t fool us.
Overall, you can see some of Roach’s trademark political topics and humor in Bombshell, but it doesn’t undo some of the issues this movie has. From a fundamental standpoint this movie is competent enough to warrant the amount of money it made, but it isn’t complete enough to go forward as one of the best movies of the year. It certainly won’t win any views from people who blindly follow Fox News, but Bombshell has enough merit to warrant a view and is a very respectable political drama.
Overall Score: 6.5/10