Movie Review: ‘Emotional’ Bombshell Explodes onto South African Screens on Friday

Bombshell‘ – starring South Africa’s Charlize Theron (who has scooped an Oscar nomination for her performance) – is released in South Africa on Friday 24 January 2020. The film chronicles the real-life chain of events at Fox News… which saw several women accuse former Fox News CEO and chairman Roger Ailes (played by John Lithgow) of sexual harassment. It’s a story that leaves you sitting in your seat as the credits roll at the end, feeling incredibly emotional…

PHOTO: Lionsgate – Margot Robbie (Left), Nicole Kidman (Centre) & Charlize Theron (Right)

As per the film’s blurb, it “offers a revealing look inside the most powerful and controversial media empire of all time”.

Charlize not only stars (as Megyn Kelly) – but her production company, Denver and Delilah, took on the film by director Jay Roach.

Bombshell boasts an amazing cast of actors from Charlize to Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, Lithgow, Kate McKinnon, Allison Janney, Malcolm McDowell and Connie Britton.

The movie follows the lead up to former Fox News anchor, Gretchen Carlson (Kidman), launching a sexual assault lawsuit in 2016 against Ailes, the then Fox News President, and explores the dynamics within Fox as the scandal unfolded.

PHOTO: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle SMPSP

The film appears somewhat chaotic at times… perhaps aiming to capture the explosive effect of Carlson’s lawsuit on Fox News, coupled with the sometimes overwhelming effect of the never-ending media cycle, and the feeling of having launched a claim after being subjected to sexual harassment within a space that’s meant to be safe.

In terms of honest male roles, it would have been interesting to have Gabriel Sherman (author of the Ailes biography The Loudest Voice in the Room), represented more in the film, or at least a summary of his role in 2014, and his later reports in 2016 of other women’s accounts of sexual assault.

Kelly’s husband, Douglas Brunt, played by Mark Duplass, is the perfect example of a supporting spouse. (And in a video following the movie, in which the real life characters discussed how close the movie got to the truth, Brunt again showed just how much of a supporting husband he is in reality! Watch below.)

The film underlines the fact that at the end of the affair Ailes and another perpetrator, Bill O’Reilly, were paid out $65 million of which $40 million went to Ailes… compared to the $50 million dollars that was shared between the victims.

As Bombshell deals with the very heavy and universal issue of workplace sexual harassment… it hits audiences hard, and many in my screening (including me) were left emotional, some in tears.

Robbie’s acting as fictional millennial, Kayla Pospisil, was remarkable, earning her an Oscar Nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

Her office scene with Lithgow leaves shivers down your spine.

The movie’s make-up team were also recognised by the Academy, nominated for Best Make-Up and Hair Styling. Although, TBH, while the make-up and prosthetics truly transformed Charlize into a look-alike Megyn Kelly… her eyes are a little unsettling on screen, with the contact lenses giving them a black, glassy, robotic effect. I found it slightly disturbing in certain scenes. It’s interesting that Kelly’s husband also expressed his disappointment that Charlize’s character was more two-dimensional than he believes his wife actually is.

It’s a must-watch film, and South Africans will be proud of Charlize – not only for her Oscar-winning role, but her production too.

The film has also earned three nominations from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), for Leading Actress (Charlize), Supporting Actress (Margot) and Make-up and Hair respectively. There were also Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nominations.

Bombshell Poster

Although the film approached women at or out of Fox, they reportedly did not expressly buy the rights of Megyn Kelly’s story (or book, Settle for More) and the same goes for the stories of the other women whose lives are recounted in the film.

The movie premieres in South Africa on the 24th of January 2020.


The real Fox News women discuss the movie ‘Bombshell’:

Megyn Kelly Presents: A Response to "Bombshell" – Full Discussion

The movie “Bombshell” is a Hollywood film about the sexual harassment scandal at Fox News. I have zero connection to the film, and hold no stake at all in it. I do, however, have a connection to many of the women who actually lived it.Here is their account.

Posted by Megyn Kelly on Thursday, January 9, 2020