Thank you for the excellent review, Sam. While the film covers some of the same territory as The Loudest Voice on television I found the film fascinating. Great performances, writing and direction. I hope that the film finds a wide audience as it has an important story to tell for this and future generations.
I've been on the fence about watching this one, mainly because I find it good that Ailes was brought down but, yes, it is depressing where the network went from there. Probably best summed up in this quote:
Jess Carr: Also stop worrying if the story’s legit. And if you can’t source it, just go with, “Some are saying.”
As they have taken that to frightening new levels of fantasy and fiction on their shows.
You've pushed me off the fence now and I'll watch it. I do want to see the performances and Lithgow as Ailes. He's always wonderful in whatever he is in as well.
I watched Bombshell last night. The performances are the reason to watch the film as Theron does an often dead-on Megyn Kelly and at certain times looks stunningly like her. I did some double takes. Kidman and Robbie also give excellent performances, not as showy as what Theron does but they do a great job creating their characters and each woman, despite the fact they are all blondes in meeting a FOX news appearance requirement it seems, they each standout as a different personality.
While the film basically makes Kelly the center of the story she is not the hero here, that is actually Gretchen Carlson who was the person that nailed Ailes. The writer of the film in the special features identifies Robbie as the "heart" of the story and who the audience is mostly with as the tale plays out. Her character is actually fictional and made up by combining stories of several women. This both works and doesn't work. It does give the film a "heart" and someone you feel for but knowing she is a creation, even one based in facts from a group of woman, sort of hurts things.
Kelly is certainly no hero in the story. She is not particularly sympathetic and bides her time watching what others do before making any move herself. Theron is fun to watch but can't say I was impressed with Megyn Kelly.
Carlson is interesting, in that she has so much fight in her and is the driving force determined to take down the bad guy. She sticks to her guns and honestly she was the one I most liked and identified with. I wanted her to win whereas with Kelly she just was frustrating and did not seem too swift. Which was sort of how the real Kelly always came across anyway...so I guess true to life.
Robbie is great playing her sort of babe in the woods that is a bit lost and delusional, seemingly a requirement to work at FOX, and yes, you do feel for her but through most of the picture the character seems such a clueless dope that it seems no wonder that Ailes has his way with her. Speaking of Ailes, Lithgow is his usual awesome here playing an absolutely deplorable man but giving him something much more than just mustache twirling bad guy stuff. Ailes does have the ability to charm and some people did really like the guy...which is part of why he got away with what he did for so long.
This is a good story and the acting is great but the end product seems a bit mediocre. It has awards film written all over it. It does do some good work exposing FOX news as little more than a bunch of frauds duping their audience but really does not lean heavily into that. The point here is really how FOX had a corporate culture that demeaned women and that this came right from the top with Ailes.
In the hands of somebody like Sidney Lumet a story like this would really sizzle and probably be a classic. Here, it seems to just dutifully hit its marks and the three women throw themselves into their roles which basically carries the film.
Worth seeing if you have an interest in the story, I knew how it all played out from watching the news so for me the primary joy was watching the actors deliver. If you don't know the story and want a bit of inside dirt on how it all played out this is a good watch. So, nothing really new revealed just a replay of what took place.