Bombshell, the movie, delves into the now well known story of Fox News head Roger Ailes. Can a movie based on a scandal hold your attention so soon after the event? With Bombshell the answer is a fascinating yes.
Like most women my age I caught the tail-end of the “business women don’t wear trousers” decree. Female business attire was all about big shoulder-pads, thigh-high short skirts and stiletto heels. Exiting a car or retrieving a dropped stapler required the skills of a master contortionist. Bombshell provides a reminder of those days.
The Bombshell story is cleverly told from the point of view of three women, two wise women who’ve made their way to the top of the media industry, and one younger idealistic woman just starting out.
Based on the real life scandal, we meet Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman), the first woman to raise the flag about the goings on behind closed doors. Being the whistle blower must take tremendous strength. It certainly impacted greatly on Carlson and the other intial women, who lost everything by coming forward.
Carlson’s story is conveyed to the world by another powerful female media personality Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron). Theron was phenomenal as she disappeared into character. It must be said, however that she was aided by some of the best female makeup artistry ever.
The third much younger business woman was Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie). Pospisil is a fictional character which allows the movie to speculate on the famous “twirl”. Robbie has received deserved praise for her emotional role.
The always wonderful John Lithgow took on the roll of Roger Ailes. I didn’t think it was possible to dislike Lithgow, until I saw his creepy portrayal in this part. Well done sir.
Bombshell cleverly intersperses real-life footage of the business and political zeitgeist. The movie stands up as a reminder to all of us, male and female, about how to recognise grooming and harassment. My initial reaction was to feel sad that we had to have this story. But then I thought, no. If not for this story getting into the ether, the power imbalance could still be playing out behind closed doors.
There’s a fascinating group interview made by the real women after they’d watched the movie. It highlights which pieces were real and which were poetic license. Make sure you watch this after the movie.