By Mr. Will Wong
In 2017, the Me Too movement set in motion a dialogue about sexual harassment in the workplace, as victims were encouraged to come forward and take action. Just prior to the spark of the movement was Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) whom after her dismissal from the network, filed legal action against executive Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) confident that other women at the Network would come forward as well. This however, proved challenging with several women, whose careers were propelled by Ailes, reluctant to speak out in fear of repercussions on their careers. Bombshell reconstructs the path these women took in coming together to Ailes’ fall from grace and termination from Fox News.
At the center of Jay Roach‘s compelling Film, based on true events surrounding the scandal, are three women at different stages in their careers at the Network. Their stories intersect, with Ailes as the converging point. Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) is at the height of her popularity, but for the wrong reasons. She brings a spike in engagement and viewership to the Network after confronting Donald Trump at the Republican Primaries about his misogynistic statements towards women. With many of the Network’s viewers being pro-Trump, she receives much backlash and begins to feel threatened for her safety. Carlson, once in a top-viewed timeslot on Fox News is relegated to a second-tier slot, which halts her once-thriving career. After clashing with Ailes on several fronts, drawing awareness to the over-sexualization of women in the workplace, she is dismissed. She opts not to sue her former employer, but Ailes himself. Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie) is an aspiring television personality and eager to earn her place at Fox News, but soon realizes at what costs this comes with Ailes. Each woman stands to lose everything and play a pivotal part in bringing to light the institutionalized cycle of mistreatment at that time within the Network.
Roach, through Charles Randolph‘s Script, captures perfectly the complex web that is spun within the Network’s leadership and staff, and helps us understand what’s at stake for each of these women. It is never as easy as just reporting harassment and Bombshell depicts this well, seeing the big picture of family, career and loyalty as considerations. There is never a dull moment. The Film is eye-opening, dialogue-generating and undeniably juicy, it is everything it is supposed to be.
Theron delivers a fantastic portrayal of Megyn Kelly, who takes us through all her internal struggles as a wife, a woman and someone who challenges the institution. Kidman brings a quiet strength to Gretchen Carlson – a cool, searing rage. Robbie takes us on her fictional character’s heartbreaking journey and self-discovery. It daringly asks at what cost our integrity is worth post-Me Too, what can be accomplished when women stand together and where we are in the gender equality conversation now.
Bombshell is one of the best 2019 has to offer and we cannot wait for you to witness the explosion. Mongrel Media release Friday December 20, 2019.
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