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'Bombshell': A juicy recount of how women helped take down Fox News’ Roger Ailes

Teresa Yovela

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Sun, December 22, 2019  /  01:02 pm

"Will Megyn, won’t Megyn?" is the question that runs throughout Hollywood’s newest #MeToo film, Bombshell

Semi-fictionalizing the story of how women brought down Fox News CEO Roger Ailes, Bombshell delivers a juicy and insightful peek into the media world and how vicious it can be.

Charlize Theron portrays Megyn Kelly, the strong and ambitious news anchor for conservative network Fox News. In the opening scene of the film, Megyn leads an office tour, seemingly allying with the audience by showing us which floor holds the largest power. Roger Ailes, occupant of the second floor, is their mentor, the one responsible for their careers. 

In chronological order, Bombshell recounts Megyn’s situation after moderating the first Republican presidential debate in August 2015. 

“You once told a contestant on Celebrity Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees,” Megyn asks. “Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?” 

Feuding with Trump and receiving a backlash from various parties did not stop Megyn, as she insists on calling out Trump for his treatment of women, a decision she makes with full support from Ailes. 

When fellow anchor, Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) is let go of her contract following a ‘no-makeup’ appearance on TV, Megyn is forced to consider two options: support her fellow women and testify against the man who has made her career, or betray her gender and prioritize her job. 

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Then comes fictional Kayla Pospisil, the ambitious millennial played by Margot Robbie. New on the game, naive Kayla comes knocking on Roger’s door, until she finds out what is waiting behind it.

So, what will Megyn choose? How does her decision impact others? 

The answer seems obvious, considering the ambiance of this film and the path real-life Megyn Kelly has chosen

Theron’s performance is so brilliant, her portrayal of dilemma almost made me reconsider my absolute support for career-driven women. Bombshell also features cast members that not only have indisputable talent but also share physical similarities with the real life figures. If you don’t believe me, look up John Lithgow who transforms into Roger Ailes, and Bree Condon, who portrays “Team Roger” and Donald Trump Jr.’s current girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle. 

Presenting situations where women often choose to mute sexism for their careers, where men discriminate and compliments are borderline excruciating, Bombshell delivers its message. It is informative, fair and eye-opening, including to men if they are willing to watch.

The choice of male director Jay Roach and writer Charles Randolph, if anything, helps balance this topic, which I personally think is prone to generalizing men.   

However, it is a bit disappointing how the production team did not turn to the real figures for source. Various media have reported that neither Megyn Kelly nor Gretchen Carlson took part in the film’s production, resulting in the questionable authenticity of the story. 

Nonetheless, Bombshell is worth watching, to be released in cinemas on Dec. 27. (kes)

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The writer is an intern at The Jakarta Post

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