‘Bombshell’ 2019

If you can get past the 1950s term for big-bosomed Hollywood actresses, you will will find,  in the  film,“Bombshell”, a story that portrays a world where at least for a certain period of time, at the most successful cable news network in history, fast-talking, highly educated blondes reigned, but at a price.

The movie, written by Charles Randolph  and directed by Jay Roach stars Charlize Theron (Megyn Kelly), Nicole Kidman (Gretchen Carlson) and Margot Robbie.

The plot centers around the conflict between the aging and declining CEO of FOX News and Chairman of Fox Television Stations, Roger Ailes and FOX female commentators who accuse him of sexual harassment.

It was a great irony that Ailes both selected and promoted these women, helping them achieve successful careers and and, at the same time, exploited or tried to exploit them.

The problem with “Bombshell” is that roiling beneath the surface is the film’s hatred of FOX and its success. It winds up creating a caricature world of power hungry non-heroes.

Theron (Kelly) asks presidential candidate Trump salacious (and irrelevant) debate questions and then squawks when she faces criticism. “I am not the story!” she cries. Oh, yes she was.  She knowingly made herself the story and then tried to exculpate herself.

Kidman, playing Gretchen Carlson, a former Miss American and Stanford University graduate, is made up to look like a stiff faced harridan.  She is miscast as Carlson. Margot Robbie in a fictitious role as an ambitious Evangelical (?) newcomer resembles Carlson and could easily have played the part.

“Bombshell” can’t make up its mind what it is trying to say.

Is it about Roger Ailes? Is it about the three women?

In the end, the title and the film were a clumsy double-entendre. The “bombshell” was both the explosive end of Ailes’ dominance at FOX and a comment on the attractive (Ailes proclaims “TV is a visual medium”) women jockeying for recognition and all that it brought, i.e., wealth, influence and renown.

About the Author
Elaine Rosenberg Miller writes fiction and non-fiction. Her work has appeared in numerous print publications and online sites, domestically and abroad, including JUDISCHE RUNDSCHAU, THE BANGALORE REVIEW, THE FORWARD, THE HUFFINGTON POST and THE JEWISH PRESS.
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