“Bombshell”: Worth Seeing but Lacking

I expected more from this film, with the amount of talent in the cast and a story that encompasses sociological upheaval that has caused a sea change in the corporate atmosphere of every industry. In my opinion the story could have had more impact if told in a more intimate and dramatic manner. The script did not allow the audience to get close to the characters and developments seem held at arms length. The story could have been anchored in the makeup room. If you don’t already know, you will see that there is a look that the Fox News female reporters and anchors seem to reflect – blonde, long legs and buxom. A fitting room scene late in the movie paints a thousand words about the culture at Fox News – however I believe it could have been placed earlier in the film.

What the filmmakers did very well was to create the character Kayla Pospisil, brought to the screen by the talented Margot Robbie. Pospisil is a fictional young Associate Producer who is a composite of several actual Fox News employees. The basis for this character was thoroughly researched, according to director Jay Roach. Multiple women who worked at Fox agreed to tell the filmmakers their stories in spite of non-disclosure agreements they had signed with Fox. Kayla was invented to protect their identities. Charlize Theron, who is Megyn Kelly in the film, corroborated this during an interview on Ellen. Robbie played completely against type with Pospisil – innocent, naïve, religious and deeply tied to her family. Theron, Robbie and Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson all turn in fine performances, as does the great John Lithgow as Roger Ailes.

Ailes skillfully and maliciously preyed on the ambitions of the women in his newsroom to be in front of the camera. Some were good enough at their jobs that they eventually rose above his lewd tactics. However even those women were destined to be haunted by memories of his lascivious advances.

The film Vice (2018) revealed how Vice President Dick Cheney created the behemoth right wing news station in Fox News. This then is the sequel. This could have been a very serious film with an invitation to laugh at our human condition, underscored by the tragedy of those who will forever have the emotional scar of succumbing to a violation of their pride. Such situations were accepted behavior in the industry at the time. Regardless of my opinion of the dramatic impact of the film, “Bombshell” is well worth seeing.

Kathryn Whitney Boole has spent most of her life in the entertainment industry, which has been the backdrop for remarkable adventures with extraordinary people.  She is a Talent Manager with Studio Talent Group in Santa Monica. kboole@gmail.com

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