A review of the important new film “Bombshell”

The #MeToo movement has been a much-needed and long-overdue exposition of the scale and severity of sexual harassment especially in the workplace. This important film sets out how one powerful man – Roger Ailes, the founder of the hugely successful Fox News television network – was eventually brought down for his appalling behaviour (although his abrupt departure from the network was still richly rewarded by the Murdoch family). John Lithgow bravely takes on this most unsympathetic of roles where padding and prosthetics make him fit this vile individual.

But this is – as it should be – a work with stand-out performances for women; no less than three of them. Nicole Kidman and Charlize Theron play the real-life victims Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelly respectively, both high-profile anchors on the network, while Margot Robbie portrays fictional character Kayla Pospisil who represents a composite of some of the many other women who were abused. Theron – who was also executive producer – is especially impressive, looking and sounding so different from her natural persona and so like Kelly herself. 

The film has a flashy, jerky style with a succession of names, dates and voiceovers coming at the viewer, so it is no surprise to note that the writer is Jay Roach who successfully used a similar approach with the complex work “The Big Short”. This adds to the inevitable fact that this is uncomfortable viewing – as, given the subject, it should be – and, since I share a first name with Ailes and this name is repeated constantly, I found it particularly unsettling. But it should be seen and it should be discussed.


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