Bombshell starring Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie is in equal parts intelligent and uncomfortable.
Based on the real events of a sexual abuse and misconduct scandal that saw Roger Ailes de-throned as CEO of Fox News America, it tells the stories of several female reporters, including high-profile Fox anchors Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson, who were abused by Ailes and how their stories came to light.
Bombshell shifts between the perspectives of Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson and the fictional Kayla Pospisil, portrayed by Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman and Margot Robbie respectively. And it should be mentioned that Theron’s portrayal of Megyn Kelly has earned her an Oscar nomination.
This work is a solid dramatisation. Directed by Jay Roach (the Austin Powers series, Meet the Parents, Meet the Fockers) it is well paced, uncomfortable to watch in parts and very clever. With Roach’s history in comedy it was a pleasant surprise watching how this latest work moves between styles and tones in the story.
Considering this is a dramatisation, the focus on making it look as real as possible makes it even more unnerving. The make-up and prosthetics used to mould the actors to look like their real-life counterparts are fantastic, and with the mixed media of actual audio and video of media coverage, including Trump’s infamous blood comment about Megyn Kelly, the film situates itself in a realm that is unnervingly real.
That being said, a word of caution; this film should come with a trigger warning for anyone who has suffered sexual abuse. Margot Robbie’s performance, which has earned her an Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actress, feels extremely real, is heartbreaking, and despite her particular character being fictional, her portrayal will be extremely familiar to survivors. The subject matter in the film elicited gasps of shock and disbelief and concerned murmurs in the theatre. Bombshell is a clear, clever and respectful contribution to the #MeToo movement