‘Bombshell’ Movie Review

'Bombshell' Movie Review

Bhoomi Sharma, Photography Editor

We open with news anchor Megyn Kelly leading the audience through the different departments in the Fox news building, while also seeing her on screen talking about the primary debate. It takes a while to adjust to the filming style, but after a moment of narration we go back to talking about what it is like to work at Fox News and Television.

The movie is called ‘Bombshell’, and has a screenplay by Charles Randolph. It is based on the story of the downfall of Roger Ailes, the CEO and the chairman of Fox News, after sexual assault accusations by Greatchen Carlson, an ex news anchor at Fox News and Television Stations. It was released on Dec. 20, 2019, starring Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margo Robbie as the three women whose experiences this story revolves around. It received Oscar nominations for Best Lead Actress, Best Supporting Actress and Best Makeup and Hairstyling.


The film is shot with small breaks in the fourth wall as actors look straight into the camera and address the audience, and narration to describe thought process and add exposition. It adapted the style popularized by “The Office,” and occasionally our narrators will directly address the audience. However, these narrations and glances into the camera are not a constant throughout the movie, and only appear in the beginning and towards the end. This creative decision did not take away from what the movie was trying to say and was indeed an interesting choice to introduce some exposition. However, director Jay Roach seemed to struggle in establishing a storytelling method, slipping between styles, leading to a lack of consistency.


But even with the inconsistencies in narration, the movie doesn’t deviate from what it wants to say. At no time on screen was there ever a rape or sexual assault scene, and yet the violence, discomfort and power play was addressed. “Bombshell” did not fall into the trap of glorifying sexual assault. Issues of consent, blackmail and the habit of victim-blaming in our society were gracefully handled, and the story is told almost exclusively by the victims which emphasizes the terror of it all. Perhaps the most uncomfortable part was how true the situations came across. 


Margo Robbie in particular does an incredibly good job, portraying an ambitious conservative blonde millennial who gets harassed by Roger Ailes during her pursuit of fame. Robbie’s character often comes across as ditzy and confused yet lovable and represents the many different women who were sexually harassed by Roger Ailes. In a heartbreaking scene with Kate McKinnon, she breaks down about the fight for her dignity with Ailes. 


However, the movie is mostly news anchor Meghan Kelly’s story as she battles with herself about what to do about Ailes’ behavior. Carlson, whose accusations began the fiasco, is only a catalyst to a story bigger than her own. 


There are three women on the poster, and the story revolves around them.  All three women, Meghan Kelly (Charlize Theron), Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) and Kayla Popsisil (Margo Robbie), are only in one scene together. It is in the elevator, when they are going up to met Roger Ailes, the chairman and CEO of Fox News and Fox Television Stations. It seems odd that the very women on the poster of the ‘Bombshell’ have only one scene together, but it also seems fitting. They rarely interact and even have disputes among themselves but somehow manage to bring down an empire. This scene, however short, is taken over with tension, thanks to the brilliant soundtrack by Theodore Shapiro. As the track ‘Elevator Trio’ starts playing, the three women size up each other through their peripherals. Their discomfort fills the air, and even without any dialogue in the scene, the viewer is kept on the edge of their seat. 


 The movie ends in a similar way it began, with the Margo Robbie as Kayla Popsisil talking about what happens after you get harassed at work. The ominous note seems fitting for the world today. As Rupert Murdoch takes the helm of Fox News and Fox Television Stations, she stalks out of the building, taking of her ID and throwing it in the trash can, knowing she will not trap herself under another Ailes.