Bombshell - Movie Review

Theron, Kidman and Robie
Theron, Kidman and Robie(Bombshell)
Updated: Dec. 27, 2019 at 11:39 AM EST
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It’s hard to fault a movie that takes on such a serious and pervasive problem in America, sexual harassment. Truthfully there is nothing wrong with Bombshell which chronicles the events leading up to and the aftermath of Gretchen Carlson’s lawsuit against Roger Ailes and the Fox News Network. Carlson is played by Nicole Kidman, who is becoming the queen of wigs with her portrayals. It’s hard to say which wig is more obvious; the helmet look here or the ironed straight hippie one she wore in Big Little Lies. This is not to say that Nicole doesn’t give a good performance, because she does. So does Margot Robbie as the fictional character of Kayla Pospisil, a young reporter who yearns to be a news producer. Pospisil is most likely a conglomeration of several real people who are less famous than Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly. Speaking of Kelly, she is played by Oscar Winner Charlize Theron. Theron looks so much like Megyn Kelly and nothing like herself, it is uncanny. She is incredibly convincing as the famous on air journalist whose troubles seem to follow her, even when she leaves Fox, although this film doesn’t tackle any of her adventures after Fox.

The trailers for this film evoke a meta comedy, but it isn’t really a comedy; furthermore there isn’t anything very stylish or inventive about the storytelling here. The satiric, sharp tone shown in the trailer; in the famous elevator scene where all three actresses appear, never seems to gel. There is an excess of films being made about real events, scandals, and otherwise stories in the news. Some of these films are very good, like the Oscar winning Spotlight which tells the story of The Boston Globe uncovering the Boston priest sex abuse scandal. The discovery of the cover-up and true heinous nature of the Catholic Church in this film unfolds slowly with fascinating details and twists that enthrall the viewer. It’s like a detective story/thriller. The events of Bombshell are so recent, comparatively, that most people will know the outcome of the story. Furthermore the story is told in broad strokes rather than fascinating details; it’s obvious from the beginning that Roger Ailes is a creep (played deliciously by John Lithgow) and it is only a matter of time before he and Fox take a fall.

The film could have benefitted from deeper characterization, especially for its three female principals. Yes, it is easy to empathize with them, but too often the audience is held at a distance from them, from who they are inside and what makes them tick, other than ambition and retribution. Everything looks good and the execution of the film is smooth, but more nonlinear storytelling or a telescoped focus on character or a portion of the story might have made for a bigger emotional impact. I left the theater thinking what Fox did was horrible, these women were treated badly, but I already knew that.

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