Movie review: Bombshell (2019)

a pretty good TV movie

BombshellThe movie Bombshell is about the denigration of women at FOX News. The chief bad guy is the head honcho, Roger Ailes (John Lithgow), who created the media empire. He is sufficiently villainous.

This is a really important story being told. Issues of power, consent, body image abound. It is quite timely in the #MeToo era, with that ripped-from-the-headlines vibe about breaking the silence.

It’s interesting that the two more powerful female news performers operated largely in their own circles. that would be Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman). Whether by the competitive design of the FOX management or happenstance, this allowed the abuse to go on without people comparing notes.

BTW, the makeup for Kidman and especially Theron, is amazing. But I was distracted by many of the men whose approximation of the real guys went from not bad to laughable.

Also less than satisfying for me was the character played by Margot Robbie. Maybe it was because Kayla Pospisil was not an individual but rather an amalgam of several FOX employees. Still, she suffered the most on-screen humiliation, and it was mighty uncomfortable.

In another era, I’d say this was a pretty good TV movie. Once that term was generally understood as “not bad for television.” Of course, that line has long since been blurred. The storyline was uneven, and somehow not as compelling as I wanted it to be.

Trumped

It is ironic, as one critic noted, that “Bombshell glorifies/reframes notoriously racist, homophobic, xenophobic, misogynistic Fox personalities as #MeToo heroines.”

Megyn Kelly, in particular, I found to be a loathsome on-air personality. I did feel for Megyn, both the real her and movie her, when the 2016 Republican nominee for President said untoward things about her. And I thought she was soft on him during their next encounter. So that narrative rang true.

The Pospisil/Jess Carr (Kate McKinnon) relationship did not. I did buy that Carr could be a closet liberal working at FOX, though.

I guess I wanted to pump my fist when – no spoiler – Ailes’ machinations are revealed, as I did in Spotlight or even The Post. My wife liked it more than I when we and our daughter saw it at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany in late December. My daughter thought it was good too.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

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