“Bombshell” Review: An Honest Recreation Of A Crucial Chapter In The #MeToo Revolution

Bold and exposes the ugly truth of the new industry

In the last few years, the world has seen an era of major reckoning with the advent of #MeToo revolution where countless women came forward to point out their harassers publicly. Many films depicting this long-overdue battle of dignity came out during and after #MeToo was the lone trending topic. Jay Roach’s Bombshell covers one such much-publicized sexual harassment case in 2016 when FOX News CEO Roger Ailes was accused by one of his former female news anchor of sexually harassing her for years. 

Wondering why the to-the-point description, well, that’s how Bombshell depicts the events that unfolded following the first accusation of workplace harassment against Ailes and the subsequent number of other women who gained enough confidence to come out to point Ailes as their tormentor, their harasser. With the lead cast playing mostly real-life characters, Roach hardly allows the dramatization of facts which sometimes gives a very dry and dull vibe to the premise. But on a whole, it succeeds at portraying the ugly politics and the rampant workplace harassment that has been hushed for years, forcing women to endure everything in silence.

Bombshell is centred around the fall of Roger Ailes, after Gretchen Carlson, a famous journalist and former television commentator, Megyn Kelly, and many other women from the network stood together to end the long reign of years of sexual abuse in Ailes’ private chambers.

In many ways, Bombshell brings the mentality of a sexual abuser and his victims to the forefront. We see the dilemma and discomfort of female employees and anchors at the channel as they work for a man whose disdain against females, he transparent misogynism is too evident to be ignored. His attitude towards women, of how he sees them as nothing but objects of desire is made apparent by the scenes where prospective news anchors have to twirl around in their audition so he can check out their legs because, as he says, legs are what holds the attention of the viewer.

We bear witness to the real-life hell the women employees at Fox News have survived, the abuse they tolerated by a man too drunk on the power he held. But the tides turn against Ailes when after bearing sexual advances and harassment for years, senior anchor Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) decides to make her voice heard after she is fired for attempting to negotiate a better post in the newsroom. But Ailes and his army of lawyers are quick to disregard her allegations, so Carlson set on the arduous mission of gathering evidence to sue her former boss.

We also meet the fictionalized character of Kayla, played brilliantly by Margot Robbie, a young, ambitious journalist who has all the potential in the world but when men like Ailes exist, women have a hard time reaching the success they deserve. 

Based on Charles Randolph’s screenplay, Bombshell also includes another scenario, where we are introduced to Fox News star anchor Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) as she engages in a television debate with the then Presidential candidate Donald Trump. While Theron is almost unrecognizable as she totally dons on the character of Megyn (hats off to the actresses’ terrific acting skills and the wonder pulled off by the makeup team) and battles the misogynistic attacks of Trump, this attempt to present the overreaching limits of a toxic climate is one of the weak links of the plot. 

What works best for the film is its major theme of exposing the male entitlement that dominates the news and media industry, where deserving women are not allowed to progress. The best example of this is Margot Robbie’s Kayla, a beautiful and wonderful woman and reporter who is eager to ace the ranks, but too raw to understand Ailes and his debauchery. 

But the message Bombshell stands for is that no matter how rich or privileged someone is, the united voice of many will ensure that justice prevails. 

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