Bombshell was fun, and that’s what I needed after watching The Assistant. The assistant was boring and self important look at sexual harassment in an entertainment industry office. Bombshell is on the same topic, but leaves all self important dullness at the door. Bombshell follows three women at different points in their careers at Fox news. Kayla, just starting at Fox, played by Margo Robbie gets sexually harassed by Roger Ailes. The second, the most famous, Megyn Kelly was harassed by Roger close to a decade ago. And the last, Gretchen Carlson, played Nicole Kidman, was harassed on the daily and at the beginning of the movies gets fired. Gretchen starts an impeccably executed lawsuit against Ailes.
All of the performances are incredible, and they’re helped along by excellent makeup. Everyone looks like who they are intended to play, with a element of thetricalical, that gets across what watching the actual humans they refer to it feels like. Charlie Threzon’s Megyn Kellie, is perfection. The makeup is spot on. Gretchen Charleston is a little bit heighten, and comes off more regal than she seems in pictures, but it works for the movie. Kidman in this role at one of most Stepford Wives roles. She is delectable, with an incredible fierceness that comes across an excellently regal way. Never does she come across as harsh, or masculine, but she’s always powerful and playing steps ahead of Ailes. Kidman’s time on screen is the shortest of the three, but she does the most with it. Additionally the casting of Roger Ailes is perfect. He looks like what the monster of this Weinstein-esque story should be. He even comes complete with donut dust across his mouth.
The screenplay itself is much to thank here. Being able to balance each of the three woman’s stories is a feat. The story does a great job at showing what the women’s stakes are in this. Megyn Kelly’s family, and her livelihood. Even if, by this point in her life she’d be a millionaire. The youngest employee risked her friendships and her ambition. We feel this the hardest, as we see a relationship with a character played by Kate McKinon crumble due to Ailes harassment. And the oldest, Gretchen risking everything she’s built and worked for the entirety of her career. The challenge of making us like these women who work for Fox news, while being a movie that doesn’t seek their audience is an interesting one, that only benefits the movie. It could feel like preaching if this came from an expected, left news channel.
The women are all in this position because they’re ambitious. The movie doesn’t shy away form this, nor does it incriminate the women for their ambition. It’s like a watered down version of Claire Underwood. They’re never as vicious, mostly because they don’t have to be, but they’re just as willing to fight endless tiny political battles. There are only two men of substance in the movie– Ailes and Kellie’s husband. So much of this movie works because there is so little space given to men.
Bombshell balances quick witted zinger with the heavyweight of the subject of sexual harassment. About thirty minutes into the movie there is a sharp tone shift during a scene between Margot Robbie and the Roger Ailes character. This scene is difficult to watch, as it should, being about sexual harassment, it does justice to the feeling that Robbie’s character has in that moment.
More than anything this movie is fun and entertaining and doesn’t make me want to kill myself, and god could a movie with this subject make you want to. It’s full of energy and movement. The editing is stellar along with the script, acting and editing. I notice that a lot of the dislike of this movie has to do with the politics of Fox News. People who would never like the real Megan Kelly. Who cares? This movie isn’t about the story of Fox New’s in the American media landscape, it’s a smaller story than that. We can’t cover everything, so this is just the story of why Fox News women’s anchors aren’t covering their legs. Let us have small stories in big places, they’re some of the best.