We've officially reached the time of year where I want to see all the movies. Awards season kicks off this Sunday, January 5, with the Golden Globe Awards and I always have more fun watching if I've seen most of what's nominated.
On Saturday evening I saw Bombshell, the movie about Fox News. More specifically, the women who came forward to accuse Roger Aisles of sexual harassment.
When the trailer for the film was initially released, social media exploded with praise for the hair and makeup team, particularly their transformation of Charlize Theron into Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. Harper's Bazaar published a piece with side-by-side photos of the cast and their real-life counterparts and the likeness is uncanny!
When the movie begins, Theron as Megyn Kelly takes us on a tour of the Fox News offices. She breaks the fourth wall and speaks directly to the camera, which is a decision I rarely support. Immerse us in your world without having to doing that!
This story has three heroines: Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson (played by Nicole Kidman) and Kayla Pospisil (played by Margot Robbie).
After being demoted to the afternoon time slot, former Fox & Friends host Carlson decides to go after the head of the network, Roger Aisles, by exposing his history of sexual harassment.
Carlson publishes an op-ed in The New York Times and the network begins to pressure other high profile talent, like Kelly, to publicly declare their support for Aisles. Kelly is torn about whether to bite the hand that feeds her or protect the next generation of young, female journalists by sharing her truth.
Robbie plays Kayla Pospisil, a fictitious character, who is supposedly a composite of many women's stories. In the Slate article, "What’s Fact and What’s Fiction in Bombshell," you can learn more.
I thought Theron was incredible as Megyn Kelly. Were it not for her signature voice, I would never have known I wasn't looking at actual Megyn Kelly. Theron took on Kelly's posture, mannerisms and tone in a way that was so exact.
Kidman is sympathetic as Carlson, standing out on the ledge by herself for an uncomfortably long amount of time. You can also feel her sense of relief and victory when the other women begin to come forward and she's offered a $20 million dollar settlement.
Robbie is often forced to play the dumb or sexy blond (with the exception of Mary Queen of Scots), but in this role she's fantastic. She arrives eager to work her way to the top and eventually departs feeling jaded, but empowered.
John Lithgow plays Aisles. I thought he was amazing as Winston Churchill in The Crown and he's equally superb in this part. The hair and makeup team strike again, completely transforming his look to match every element of Ailes' face, body and demeanor.
The supporting cast in packed with Hollywood A-listers. Malcolm McDowell plays Rupert Murdoch. Allison Janney plays Ailes' attorney, Susan Estrich. Mark Duplass plays Megyn Kelly's husband. Rob Delaney plays her producer. Kate McKinnon plays a producer for Bill O'Reilly. Ashley Green plays Abby Huntsman. Connie Britton plays Aisles' wife. Richard Kind plays Rudy Giuliani. The list goes on and on! I could not get over how many superstars were cast in small roles.
The movie is written by Charles Randolph, who also did the screenplays for The Big Short and Love & Other Drugs. It's directed by Jay Roach, best known for directing the Austin Powers movies and the Meet the Parents / Meet the Fockers movies.
You can definitely feel the similarities to The Big Short, but Bombshell isn't as smart of clever. Even though Aisles is ultimately punished, you don't feel as satisfied at the end as you expect to.
This movie is definitely worth seeing, especially the performances by Theron and Lithgow, but you can certainly wait until it hits Netflix or Amazon.