Critics Review: ‘Bombshell’ Understands Nuances of Harassment 

The film stars Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie in lead roles.

Updated
Cinema
2 min read
A still from <i>Bombshell</i>.
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Bombshell

Director: Jay Roach
Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Malcolm McDowell, Allison Janney

Bombshell has a finely textured, savagely pinpoint, you-are-there verisimilitude that the films of Adam McKay (Vice), with their fusion of topicality and borderline satirical ‘tude, don’t. The office backbiting, the water-cooler ambition and treachery, the abusive secrets hovering in the air like smoke from burnt rubber — all of that gives Bombshell the excitement of gossip infused with psychodrama. It’s suspenseful, and deeply satisfying, to see Roger Ailes’ web of power unravel, as Lithgow’s performance becomes a tightrope dance of rage and fear. This, more than a year before the fall of Harvey, was the real start of the reckoning, from deep within the right-wing heart of darkness. But Bombshell also shows us the cost that this fight extracted.
Owen Gleiberman, Variety
“Love her or loathe her, most Americans would agree that Megyn Kelly has one of the best voices in the business. An appealing combination of silky and slightly hoarse, it’s instantly recognizable. And it’s one of Kelly’s chief identifiers that Charlize Theron completely nails in Bombshell, an absorbing, well-crafted chronicle of the sexual harassment accusations that forced Fox News founding CEO Roger Ailes to resign in disgrace.”
Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post
“Here’s the thing about sexism: It doesn’t discriminate. It’s an equal opportunity prejudice that cuts across history, culture, political affiliation. Bombshell gets this. And part of what works in the movie is that it does a good job of presenting the ordinary assaults that women, even those with great privilege, can endure simply to get through a day, including dehumanizing compliments.”
Manohla Dargis, The New York Times
“Where Bombshell succeeds is in showing how the predatory and sinister abuse plays out in the corporate environment – in bullying. The film shows that sexual harassment and bullying are not separate issues but part of the continuum of coercion. It sketches out a queasy scenario in which a younger female journalist is taken out for a drink by a male boss who brutally asks for sex in return for career advancement, and the film shows how the aghast woman’s instinct is to forgive this man, to pretend it isn’t happening, even to apologize: “I’m sorry if I’ve given you the impression that our relationship could be anything but professional…”
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
“Bombshell avoids a big bang in favour of a firm commitment to a screenplay that succumbs to occasional theatrics, but understands the nuances of sexism, harassment and #MeToo.”
Udita Jhunjhunwala, LiveMint

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