Bombshell Movie Review: Charlize Theron's movie brings out a powerful 'feminism' message with subtlety | PINKVILLA



Bombshell Movie Review: Charlize Theron is the scene-stealer as Megyn Kelly and doesn’t try to make us sympathise for her character. Instead, Megyn says it like it is, no matter how harsh it may sound. Along with anchors in Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson and Margot Robbie as Kayla Pospisil, we’re given a humour-driven yet hard-hitting social commentary on sexual harassment in the workplace.

Bombshell Movie Review: Charlize Theron's movie brings out a powerful 'feminism' message with subtletyBombshell releases in India today, i.e. January 3, 2020.


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Bombshell Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie

Bombshell Director: Jay Roach

Bombshell Stars: 4/5

As an ice breaker, the first few minutes of Bombshell see Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) break the fourth wall to invite the audience into the patriarchal working-class mentality of Fox News, the ever-controversial American conservative news channel whose ironical slogan is “Fair and balanced.” Throughout the two hour spectacle that is this Jay Roach directorial, we are taken deep into what exactly led to the drastic fall of former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes (John Lithgow). It’s the subtlety with a brash sense of humour that really hits you hard and makes you ponder, just like the women did when it was finally announced that Ailes was taken down.

At the forefront and leading the pack is the phenomenal performer, that is Charlize Theron. What’s truly remarkable about Charlize as an actress, especially in Bombshell, is that she doesn’t try to make you empathize with Megyn in any way. Instead, she relays Kelly for the personality we are used to seeing onscreen. At no given time is Megyn Kelly supposed to be seen as a victim, but rather a human of circumstance. A true scene-stealer, there isn’t a single frame where Theron lets her guard down and truly deserves all the applause she is receiving so far. The other remarkable performance goes to Margot Robbie, who brings to life the ‘evangelical millenial’ in Kayla Pospisil. It’s Kayla, who is used as an example of representing the atrocities women have to endure to play in the big leagues with the boys.

It’s the raw timidness and sheer agony of an aspiring, young reporter who wants to make it big that is showcased through Margot’s brilliant act, especially in the particular sequence where she is confronted with an offer by Roger Ailes, she dare not refuse. It’s also her emotional outburst to Jess Carr (Kate McKinnon) about what went down between her and Ailes that is truly heartbreaking and proves yet again that Margot Robbie is a force to be reckoned with. While Nicole Kidman’s Gretchen Carlson performance has its moments, with a treacherous wit to boast about, in comparison to Charlize and Margot, the Big Little Lies star has very little to play with and excel at. There’s a tiny but defining moment inside an elevator when all three female protagonists coincide at the same time. It’s a powerful message with the usage of deafening silence. A scene that may not seem extremely important but sends across a powerful message that s**t’s about to go down.

It takes an actor like John Lithgow to truly bring out the ‘Leg Man’ that was Roger Ailes. The vile expressions with which he objectifies women is the symbolic representation of sexual harassment at the workplace. To see his downfall is equally satisfying and credit goes to John in bringing out the ‘evilness’ with just his eyes and mostly words.

What’s impressive about how Jay Roach and writer Charles Randolph delicately handled the firing of Roger Ailes is that they provided fodder from both sides. It didn’t paint a pretty angelic picture for all the women and instead pointed out the hypocrisies as well. Whether it be Roger’s assistant Faye (Holland Taylor), who was more like his procuress hunting down young women to deliver to her boss or even Ailes’ wife Beth (Connie Britton) who defends her husband’s derogatory statements against women as a fault of her own for encouraging her husband. Then there’s Megyn and Gretchen, who may have led the revolution to take down Roger Ailes, but only when they seemed fit to do it and it was in their personal interest. There’s a chilling confrontation between Kayla and Megyn when the former asks the latter about her sexual harassment incident with Roger and why she kept quiet for so many years, instead of at least being morally responsible towards her female colleagues. However, the victims are also given the spotlight to truly understand the psychology with which they were manipulated and used; tricked into believing it would garner them towards the upward trajectory in their careers, until they kept their mouths shut that is. What’s truly terrifying is the modern usage of wit to bring out a heavy message of what’s going on in the real world. The social commentary used in Bombshell is mostly in the humourous tone and sadly, that’s how sexual harassment in the workplace is viewed today.

ALSO READ: Bombshell: Here’s how Charlize Theron saved the film from being shelved; Details inside…

While the end product may not have been what Megyn Kelley would have imagined, it’s the look she shares with Gretchen towards the end of the movie that may seem like a small but significant win. It’s also seeing Kayla embrace her own identity, unlike Jess (a closeted lesbian who is still riddled by the claws of Fox News), and saying goodbye to her dream job that leaves you inspired, even though we still find it a bit unrealistic. Bombshell is about a bombshell firing of a bombshell personality by several bombshell women! It’s also a movie that would be criminal to miss!


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