REVIEW: BOMBSHELL tackles the early ramifications of #MeToo at Fox News Network, but struggles to find a relatable protagonist despite the subject matter.


Jay Roach’s dramatization of the rise and fall of Roger Ailes at Fox Network benefits from strong performances from Margot Robbie, Kate McKinnon, and an unrecognizable Charlize Theron using the template of films like Vice and The Big Short, but still comes up as surface level.

It’s not an understatement to say the ramifications of the #MeToo movement in the entertainment industry have been far-reaching and game-changing. From Bryan Singer, Kevin Spacey, Harvey Weinstein and more, the face of decision making in Hollywood and television has been irrevocably been changed by the movement. As a minority myself, its disconcerting to see how the entrenched strata of power allowed those in control to put down others based on sexual and racial discrimination. One of the biggest stories being that of Roger Ailes, the man who turned Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News into a bubble zone for conservative thought. Bombshell largely chronicles the fall of Ailes’ position after his abuse of well-known Fox personalities Gretchen Carlson and Megyn Kelley came to light. Roach wasn’t able to talk to or adapt Kelley or Carlson’s stories, so he takes the approach that Adam McKay does and uses the film to breakdown the rise and fall of Fox News using his actors as talking heads to explain the situation, in between relating their stories which works serviceably to varying degrees.

The film starts up by following Megyn Kelley (Charlize Theron wearing the most disconcertingly uncanny valley makeup to make her a virtual clone of the person she is portraying). At this time, Trump is running for President and using Kelley as a punching bag following her moderation of the 2016 Republican Presidential Debate. We also realize there is a culture of women’s roles being minimized at Ailes’ (John Lithgow) stewardship of Fox News. We see as Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) is minimized and removed from her on-air role after being constantly sexually harassed, much as Kelley was early in her career and as Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie) is now. Pospisil was weaned on Fox News world view and Ailes uses this to take advantage of her. Her only confidante, Jess (Kate McKinnon) being unable to help her due to being a closeted lesbian as well as a Democrat. The film largely tracks the ingrained culture of politics and men first at Fox, even amongst the women in power, including Kelley and Judge Jeanine Pirro (Alanna Ubach).

The film has solid performances, mainly from Theron, McKinnon, and Robbie, really digging into the film for depth. That being said, the film doesn’t offer much, with Robbie’s offering the most being a composite of stories and Kelley’s relationship with her husband Douglas (Mark Duplass) giving us some depth to her person beyond Fox talking head. That’s the big problem with the film, in that most of the characters are unlikeable people in the public eye so it is hard to root for them, especially with most having NDA’s keeping them from sharing their stories publically, making this film the first many have heard of this story in the post #MeToo world. Nevertheless, the film boasts some of the strongest roles for women in this awards cycle and the makeup effects in the film, especially in regards to Theron’s transformation into Kelley being beyond exemplary.

Overall, Bombshell offers a breakdown of how #MeToo can and did help even unlikeable people because they are people and not objects despite their politics. It’s an important point to make and the film’s solid performances make it worth a watch.