Pssst, want to check out Bombshell in our new look?
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Much less compelling than The Loudest Voice miniseries on the same topic.
It's not great. It's too split between telling the audience about these events and telling a human story to do either with a deft hand; it's clumsy and fractured between what are, as far as I'm concerned, three protagonists, despite the awards categories these women find themselves placed in; A lot of the plot beats are predictable cookie-cutter beats from a million other movies that aren't spiced up enough here to be terribly enthralling. The lead actresses are all fantastic but a lot of the actors in the bit parts are just terrible, which lends to the overall aesthetic of a highly-budgeted TV movie; However, I liked it. I think the talking points are handled well and the sense that this is ultimately a human issue, rather than a political one (though not one without a lot of political complications), is clear. Ultimately, the evil portrayed in the movie is politically ambiguous human cruelty and selfishness. Not just represented by sex offender and fuckface Roger Ailes (among other fuckfaces like Bill O'Reilly), but also the people at FOX News who, while they might not be guilty of sexual harassment, are guilty of selling their soul for a job on TV. It's kinda like your typical exposé about the seedy inside world of Hollywood, only it's about political broadcast journalism.
The politics in this film aren't brushed aside, either. You get all the jabs at FOX that you expect, but I'm gonna have to disagree with Siskoid when he says that the film doesn't address conservatism's ties with sexism. I would say they lay it on heavily. Not only does Megyn Kelly continuously struggle with her own self-affirmed political beliefs and they are chipped away at by a series of personal struggles, but the audience is treated to a heavy dose of workplace sexism on the part of both men and women that is explicitly tied to the conservative world they inhabit. I don't personally think that conservatism and sexism are mutually inclusive, but I would say that those responsible for this film probably think so more than I do. To condemn FOX News and conservatism more than they do in this film would probably, per my taste, verge into preachiness. It has the right amount of that FOX News bashing for a fella of my political persuasion, whatever that is (basically, your mileage may vary. Seems like Siskoid would've appreciated a different angle, but a FOX News watcher or apologist would probably feel that way, too).
That's not to say that this movie is all political all the time. The political themes are made clear, but what I liked best about the movie is how it balances the unavoidable politics with the human themes (not so much the human stories). It presents a clear picture of sexual harassment in the workplace as another product of the ruthless business culture that people tend to create. A supporting character is brought to task for leaving a friend in the dust for the sake of a job, but it never adopts a holier than thou attitude about mortal follies, which I appreciated. It suits my sensibilities, I guess. I left with some sense of "empowerment," but not too much. These women haven't won any war and the film knows it. It does only barely sprinkle in the damage that this did to Gretchen Carlson's career afterward (effectively ending it) but it's not really the type of movie you expect to do any more than that.
Bombshell is basic, but it's enjoyable. The funny bits are funny, with one big laugh in my Canadian theatre (you'll know what I'm talking about if you've seen it). The one scene that depicts what is more-or-less rape is bone-chilling without being exploitative. Again, not enough credit can go to the three lead actresses herein. Wow. Honestly, Margot Robbie deserves all the attention she gets as the hot, new star. I guess we all know this after "I, Tonya," but she's so good. Theron is as fantastic as is to be expected, and Nicole Kidman is better than I think some are giving her credit for. John Lithgow is also a stand-out, who can be both very creepy and very funny. It's not a mind blowing movie, but it's worth your time if you're interested, I think. But, what do I know? If you're gonna see it, go see it; if not, you probably aren't missing much.
I saw Bombshell, and let's get this out of the way before going any further - while I agree things are not black and white, no movie is going to wipe away the damage the people represented have done by working at a vile propaganda machine, no matter how sympathetic the actresses playing them are. But that also doesn't mean I'm going to say they deserved the sexual harassment they got while working at Fox. That's a separate issue, and while the movie takes its shots at Fox News (by just saying how it is, no extra satire required), it works as a workplace drama about fighting back against systemic sexism - without making the point (or needing to) that sexism is one of conservatism's core values. Austin Powers director Jay Roach plays it for laughs with a style that's more I, Tonya than The Big Short, which makes the uncomfortable moments all the more uncomfortable. Good juggling of tones. But of course, this is most interesting for the acting. Charlize Theron changes her voice and diction to the point where she's a different person; Nicole Kidman seems like she's doing more of an impression at times, though I'm not sure Gretchen actually has that lisp; and Margot Robbie is good as usual as a fictional/composite up-and-comer. I was surprised at how engaged I was given how much had to be glossed over, but there you have it.
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!