Just as Academy Awards nominations for Charlize Theron (Best Actress) and Margot Robbie (Best Supporting Actress) were being announced last week, we watched disgraced movie producer Harvey Weinstein struggle to manoeuvre his walker into a New York courtroom.
Weinstein, currently on trial for rape, was once touted as the most powerful man in Hollywood. He achieved this position allegedly via the systemic rape and sexual abuse of hundreds of women over the course of many years.
A year or so prior to Weinstein’s’ 2017 arrest, the catalyst of the worldwide #MeToo movement, Gretchen Carlson (Kidman), the female co-anchor of Fox network’s flagship morning show Fox & Friends, filed a lawsuit against TV executive Roger Ailes (Lithgow) claiming years of sexual harassment.
Once the suit was filed, Carlson stood alone. Unsurprisingly, she was subjected to all sorts of bullying and much rolling of the eyes as the Fox network attempted to relegate her to ‘disgruntled ex-employee’ status.
But then, spurred by Carlson’s stance, other woman stepped forward, ultimately resulting in the forced resignation of Ailes.
This is their story.
Should I watch it?
Bombshell, aptly named for the dual impact the word bombshell elicits, is not an easy watch.
The reality is, although one man was at the helm of the decades of sexual harassment, a toxic work culture can only thrive when others are equally as complicit. Many other men in positions of power who, if they didn’t take part in the abuse, certainly knew about it and kept quiet.
And the other equally powerless women who, while not sexually harassed, were forced into uneasy, heartbreaking silence about the harassment. This is shown when Ailes female personal assistant Faye (Taylor) leads naïve young women, such as producer Kayla (Robbie) into Ailes office, shutting the door behind them. Her face as the door closes, a picture of heartbreak, guilt and shame.
Possibly the face of every woman who suspected but could do nothing to stop this type of behaviour.
With the powerhouse actresses who helm this movie, I feel it could have and should have, been a much tougher piece. Theron, Kidman and Robbie have been rightly nominated for a slew of awards for Bombshell but are let down by a mediocre, softly-softly script. Were there lawsuits-in-waiting tacked to the stage door entrance? Not to mention the support actresses include McKinnon as a lesbian Democrat working at Fox, Allison Janney as an Ailes lawyer who owes him a favour and Holland Taylor as Ailes personal assistant. Killer actresses all.
Having said that, the movie does what it sets out to do. It tells the story of sexual harassment and toxic work culture through the eyes of the women.
A must see political drama for sure, it packs a powerful punch but with themes such as this, I also want that pound of flesh.
3 ½ stars
Running Time: 109 minutes
Release Date: in cinemas now
Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Allison Janney, Kate McKinnon, Holland Taylor