I regret to say that I overlooked this movie when it came out last late year. Bombshell was released in Mid-December 2019, just in time for an Oscars push in early 2020. The film will be released on DVD, next Tuesday, March 10, when it will also be available to rent on most streaming sites like Vudu.
My recommendation is to go see it as soon as you can. It is a very important movie in our political climate and the current states of affairs in the world today. The story centered on the Fox News cable network and its founding chairmen and CEO, Roger Ailes (portrayed by John Lithgow). The film recounts the “sexualization” of the news and objectification of women at the network. The sad story of the new network was that all of the women anchors on the show, touted as progressive and forward thinking, these women were required to wear short skirts only and the camera shots included wide angles to accentuate the attractive women’s legs.
Several scenes, while not graphic in nature, show Ailes “interviewing” potential employment candidates by making them twirl around and show off their bodies. His justification for this type of sexual harassment was that the news is a “visual medium” and he needed to ensure that viewers would like what they saw on camera.
Here’s a quote from Megyn Kelly (portrayed by Charlize Theron) on Ailes’ philosophy:
“Early on he realized for a network to stay on 24 hours a day you need something to hold an audience. That something is legs. There’s a reason for clear desks.”
Gretchen Carlson (played by Nicole Kidman), a longtime anchor at Fox News who was sexually harassed by Ailes came forward to personally sue Ailes. At least twenty-three women came forward to join the suit, including Megyn Kelly. Kayla Pospisil (played by Margot Robbie) was a character in the film that symbolized many of the common victims that would have been affected by Ailes. She is a young, beautiful blonde in awe of Ailes, the powerful media giant, who thinks she is getting some personal attention with the possibility of a promotion, and instead is sexually assaulted.
It is both a horrifying, cautionary tale, but it is also a story of heroism for the brave women who decided enough is enough and took a stand against this predator.
The film won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling this year, and both Charlize Theron (Best Actress) and Margot Robbie (Best Supporting Actress) were also nominated.
I am glad I got to see this movie. I recommend that everyone go and see it. The sad part of stories like these is that many media groups go into “damage control” mode to muzzle the story so it doesn’t become major headlines or the news cycle is “minimized” and fades out of the public’s memory. What this movie does, however, it revives the story and then puts names and faces to the horrible things perpetrated against them and it doesn’t hold back any punches. I am glad that there was some awareness made thanks to award shows like the Oscars, even if the film itself was released to minimal fanfare.