Bombshell (2019)

★★★ | by

Posted on Jun 21, 2021

© Hilary Bronwyn Gayle | Lionsgate Entertainment


Having had enough of her boss’s sexual harassments, Gretchen Carlson files a lawsuit against Fox News founder Roger Ailes. Her bravery triggers a domino effect, culminating into a liberation movement.

I’ll start at the most powerful scene of the film. The one where we see sexual harassment take place at the hands of the tyrant, Roger Ailes. It’s incredibly uncomfortable, it’s disgusting, it’s worse than I could have even imaged; the psychological pain women must go through at the hands of someone that powerful and to have your whole career in the hands of someone with those behavioural traits, is just horrific.

Bullying isn’t meanness, bullying is people with more power hitting people with less.

Roger Ailes

The film boasts a repertoire of acting talent. Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie bring together a power that enables the trio to lead the scenes on their own with comfort and measure. John Lithgow, the actor who portrays Ailes does so with frightening accuracy. I also wonder how the actor must be feeling in those rather uncomfortable scenes, gathering the essence of a character with little morals. A special mention to Kate McKinnon, who had little screen time as a supporting character, but manages to embody a character that supports the acting of Margot Robbie so well.

The story could have expanded on a number of key elements when it comes to the subject. The men at FOX that had been encouraging and allowing the behaviour of their colleagues in the building (Aimes, Hannigan etc.) was missing a little, or lacked a bigger slice of the story. Most came out to defend Aimes as a person, yet suffered little consequence of their actions, something that almost encourages the behaviour of the past, rather than taking a stand for the future generations. I realize this is a long-standing issue in the world we’re in today, but like a documentary editing technique, you want the audience to be angry at the consequence, so we can therefore promote action.

Bombshell offered me a window into the culture at FOX at the time, but also didn’t overwhelm me with a sense of bias. A balanced story was what was needed, to see both sides of the table, and Jay Roach did well with giving us that balance. I might suggest that the sexual harassment was a little downplayed, giving us a hint of a political angle, which made me a little frustrated with the story. This however may have come from the excuses written in the dialogue to justify the characters’ disgusting behaviour, more than the plot of the film.

Bombshell lacks a little in the story, which could have been more powerful with more honesty in its depiction of harassment, but makes up for in its acting, and it’s pure curiosity with its subject matter.

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