I’ve been excited to see Bombshell ever since I first saw the teaser trailer. Being a person that’s heavily involved in politics, I’m very familiar with this subject and was interested to see how they portrayed it. I wanted them to be factual, serious, and to capture what these women felt like in these situations. When you’re handling a story that’s both about sexual harassment and political, you have a responsibility to be fair and to also tap into the reality of the situations these victims find themselves in. I’m thankful that Bombshell does those things.
The huge win for Bombshell is the cast and the strong performances they give. First off, Charlize Theron is absolutely incredible as Megyn Kelly, I mean, I forgot it was her at a certain point. It’s not only the prosthetics, which are incredible and I’ll talk about more later on, but it’s just her whole persona. Kelly’s voice has a certain style to it, one very unlike Theron’s and it’s just uncanny how the actress is able to speak exactly like her. When she first opens her mouth, I was instantly impressed because it was like I was really listening to Megyn Kelly.
Now as far as how she’s portrayed in the film, she’s made to be a sympathetic character and that works for a reason. Do I like Megyn Kelly? No, not really. Do I agree with her on politics or think her many controversial comments are acceptable? No, I don’t. BUT whether I like someone doesn’t mean it’s not awful when they’re sexually harassed or abused. Seeing Kelly deal with all the Trump/Ailes turmoil does make you feel bad for her. She’s a person getting taken advantage of and getting attacked in a grossly sexist manner. You forget that it’s Megyn Kelly going through this, it could be any powerful woman to be honest. Nicole Kidman is great as usual. She plays Gretchen Carlson and does a wonderful job. Not only did they make her up to look exactly like Carlson but she also portrays the tough as nails businesswoman persona with ease.
There are several confrontational scenes involving Kidman that are some of the best moments of the film, one in particular between her and Ailes (Roger Lithgow) where he criticizes one of the more progressive segments on her show in a sexist fashion. The way Kidman reacts and responds is very strong and as an audience member you feel her anger.
Speaking of John Lithgow playing Roger Ailes, he is amazing in this role, I mean I thought he nailed it. The prosthetics and fat suit helps him get into the role physically, but his attitude and the way he delivers his lines is the real key to unlocking the magic. Ailes is such a monstrous person and to be able to play him you must tap into the predatory nature, which he does. There are plenty of scenes where he yells at people and gets angry, which is important but there’s one scene between him and Margot Robbie that really shows his true colors, the creepy underbelly if you will. It’s a scene in which Robbie goes to meet with him and talk about her future at Fox News and Roger requests certain things of her. The scene is handled with a sense of disturbing realism and I love that because situations like this must be taken seriously and portrayed accurately. I have to applaud Margot for this scene too because the way she reacts is just heartbreaking, and it visualizes how she’s feeling in that moment.
All the performances are really great and there are some incredible scenes that handle the subject matter well by being accurate and raw. With all that being said, I did want more of Nicole Kidman as Carlson, she doesn’t get nearly as much time as Theron and I found her so interesting so naturally I wanted to see more. I also wish we could have spent a bit more time with these women in a non work setting. I wanted to see some moments where they are at home alone contemplating or just having some time to themselves. I wanted to see them in a personal stripped down manner where we could examine how they’re personally being affected.
Margot Robbie is really the only one who gets a scene where she gets emotional and that’s such a great scene. It’s quiet and it just focuses on her crying and talking about how she felt about it all. There’s a great line that her character says and I want to mention it because it’s unfortunately what some women think after being harassed. She says: “I feel so filthy” and that absolutely broke my heart, I mean to think a victim could be made to feel filthy… a victim. It’s important to include lines like that in order to portray what it’s really like for some women.
Bombshell features skilled performances, incredible makeup, hair, and costume design, and has some very appropriately realistic scenes. All of these things make for a very good film that for the most part, achieves what it sets out to achieve. I do wish there were some scenes where we got to focus on these women more as people, but in the grand scheme of things, this film handled things very well.
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