Bombshell Movie Review: An explosive unearthing of the Me Too movement
A truly international film, not because of the language it speaks, but the theme it addresses
Ever experienced rage when you come across people who instinctively support abusers saying, "Oh, he is a good man; he can't be an abuser!" or "Oh, he is too old to be an abuser!" I bet the answer would be a big yes for most of you and this is what makes Bombshell, an American biography, transcend socio-cultural boundaries and feel relevant and important even in India. The best part of the film, which is based on the real-life stories of sexual harassment survivors who took down the serial abuser and kingpin of the fox network, Roger Ailes (played by John Lithgow), not only tries to be factually correct but also succeeds in being extremely intriguing. Though I was initially taken aback by the overwhelming amount of information on the screen, it didn't take me long to fall in love with the way the plot unfolded. During a particular point in the film, the case of Rudi Bakhtiar, who got fired from the channel because of a sexual accusation, gets a mention and it isn't just placed there as a fact, but cuts into an innovatively shot encounter of her with the abuser, where we get to hear her oscillating thoughts aloud and this too manages to be entertaining, while establishing a strong statement.
Director: Jay Roach
Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie and John Lithgow
Despite having a potential story which could have been made into a grim film that constantly makes you uncomfortable, Bombshell opts to take you on a ride of emotions. The near flawless screenplay gives you a window seat to the life of the media people, and make us understand why a section of them constantly feel insecure and vulnerable and why the rest feel it is okay to make the former feel so.
Bombshell is a film that unfolds in very limited indoor locations, but what makes it look magnificent is its stellar star cast. Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly shoulders the film and it is a delight to watch her pull off intricate emotions in closeups. Nicole Kidman also steals the show as the scarred yet confident Gretchen Carlson. It is also astonishing to see how they are made to look very similar to the real-life characters, by a very strong makeup and hairstyle department. While the challenge of these two actors was to closely mirror real personalities, Margot Robbie is the inverse. Her Kayla Pospisil is a fictional character designed as an amalgamation of the voices of the conservative and vulnerable girls, who got exploited by the top officials of the channel. Robbie's impeccable performance make Kayla extremely relatable and when she breaks down out of her helplessness there's a teardrop already rolling down your cheeks.
Though there have been several films based on the journey of an oppressed and a few significant films that seriously addressed workplace harassment, Bombshell feels special because of its sheer political boldness. Director Jay Roach doesn't think twice before calling a spade a spade and throughout the runtime, I can't help but wonder we would be ever given the liberty to make such a bold film.
Bombshell is a truly international film, not because of the language it speaks, but the theme it addresses. Being someone from India, who is surrounded by films which crack painful jokes on the MeToo moment and a society that wounds a the survivors every day under the guise of investigation, rather than the sexual predators, it was an amazing cathartic experience to see the oppressed take down their oppressors in style, and more importantly without a helping hand of a male messiah.