Bombshell (2019) – Film Review

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Theron, Kidman and Robbie drop a Bombshell in the true story of the sexual harassment scandal that rocked Fox News.

As Megyn Kelly walks and talks the audience through an introductory tour of Fox News, two things are abundantly clear.

One is that Bombshell will win the Oscar for Best Make Up and Hair. It is a mind-bending transformation because your head knows it is Charlize Theron under the make up, but all your eyes can see is Megyn Kelly. Of course the aesthetic would count for nothing if it wasn’t backed up by a fantastic performance. Theron proves she is one of the finest actors of her generation because she disappears completely into the role.

The second is that director Jay Roach and writer Charles Randolph are telling the story of this real life incident in the style of Aaron Sorkin and The Big Short.

There is the breaking of the fourth wall. Characters pausing conversations to allow for flashbacks to important incidents. Efficiently setting the scene and driving the narrative for audiences not completely familiar with the true story or people involved.

One might question the fact that this story, which was part of the #MeToo movement and pivotal in encouraging women to speak up against sexual harassment, is written and directed by men.

To their credit, they keep the focus on the trio of women who are pivotal to the scandal. They also effectively showcases the toxic environment within Fox News that began with Ailses and trickled down to the studio floor. No matter what your opinion on the broadcaster. However the aforementioned narrative style comes across at times as too flippant or satirical to really strike a hammer blow.

Much has been made of the attention focused on Margot Robbie during Awards Season. In particular, BAFTA’s decision to nominate her for Best Supporting Actress for Once Upon A Time In… Hollywood and Bombshell. For some, at the expense of other worthy actresses and performances.

However there is a scene where Robbie breaks down during a phone call and reveals the truth of the sexual harassment she suffered. It is gut-wrenching stuff and her tears mark the start of the wave that will engulf Ailses and Fox News. In this moment Robbie proves herself more than worthy of the nominations.

Bombshell shines a spotlight on a horrible but important true story but the film never truly manages to reach the same level as the three terrific lead actresses.

Director: Jay Roach
Stars: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow
Runtime: 109 minutes 
Country: USA

Film Rating: ★★★☆☆

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