‘Bombshell’ brings down Fox News’ Roger Ailes


The #MeToo movement gets its first real film in the ironically titled “Bombshell.” The name is sometimes associated with good-looking women.

The star-studded cast includes Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, and John Lithgow as Fox News characters. The time period is 2015–16, during the lead-up to Trump’s run for president.

The director is Jay Roach, known for “Game Change” (2012) about the 2008 presidential race, as well as a string of comedies. Scriptwriter Charles Randolph also helped write “The Big Short” (2015), about the 2007–08 financial crisis. One of the techniques Roach uses is including archival footage of the time and the principals to reinforce “Bombshell’s” verisimilitude.

As Fox News head, Roger Ailes (Lithgow) has a reputation for helping solidify the network’s reputation for misogyny, racism, xenophobia, and falsehoods. He was accused of insisting that Fox female anchors wear provocative clothing and display their legs behind a see-through on-camera desk. He was also said to grope, kiss, fondle, and demand sexual favors for promotions.

Theron plays star Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, one of the three women most associated with the sexual harassment charge against Ailes. Wearing prosthetics that make her look like Kelly, Theron also imitates her voice, walk, and mannerisms. The impersonation is said to be so effective viewers may not recognize Theron. As Kelly, a former lawyer, she’s a toughie, not afraid to call out now President Donald Trump for his sexism and other questionable behaviors. Trump fires back with comments about her menstrual cycle.

Then in an interview with the presidential candidate, Kelly tosses so many softballs at him that her husband criticizes her. She also argues on air that Santa Claus could not be black. During the debates, she gets a violent stomach upset, apparently caused by poisoned coffee. Rumors are that Trump was behind the poisoning. One of the cinematic devices Roach uses is to have Kelly directly address the viewers.

As Gretchen Carlson, Kidman is the one who sues Ailes for sexual harassment. The question is whether the other women at Fox will join her in the suit. The third member of the triumvirate is Robbie, as Christian evangelical Kayla Pospisil. A new and ambitious member of the Fox team, Pospisil is said to be eager enough to get ahead that she agrees to strip for Ailes. As a result of the cumulative charges against Ailes, Fox owner Rupert Murdoch (Malcolm McDowell) fired him. Because “Bombshell” was not available for review before Dec. 19, the above is a preview based on research about the film.

Information and tickets for “Bombshell” and other Film Center offerings are available at mvfilmsociety.com. Information about films playing at Edgartown Cinemas is available at entertainmentcinemas.com/locations/Edgartown.