The #MeToo movement of 2017 exposed the terrible things people did to each other behind closed doors in the entertainment industry and has kickstarted a new genre of films exploring the subject in detail. The movie Bombshell tackles the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace and media scandals in broadcast journalism. Written by Charles Randolph (famous for The Big Short) and directed by Jay Roach of Austin Powers and Meet the Fockers fame, focus on the treatment of women in the highly controversial conservative American broadcast network FoxNews.
Based largely on true stories, the movie follows presenters Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) as they deal with their boss’ inappropriate advances and fictional character Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie) as she navigates life at Fox as a news reporter. Robbie’s character is the first clue the film’s creators don’t know how to balance satirical comedy with the quite serious issue of sexual harassment. Kayla seems to have been created with the most opposing set of characteristics one could have, as a bicurious evangelical republican with a heart of gold, she sleeps with her lesbian colleague, secret democrat Kate Mckinnon, in a scene that doesn’t advance the story one bit.
Bombshell knows the message it wants to send but gets lost on its way to it. Is it a biographical movie that aims to stick to the facts? Is it a satirical comedy that doesn’t really have a punchline? Or is it a morality lesson in which we have to question men’s power in the media and the people that benefit from it. The truth is, it should not have tried to be all three of them at the same time. Not even the main actresses ́ commitment to their performance could save this movie from an apathetic portrayal of a subject so relevant in today’s media. The balance between Randolph and Roach ́s previous works in the comedy field, with the heavyweight of the material is missing, and we are left with an empty movie that cares more about shock value and humorous bits than it does about the very real threat of harassment that people, mostly women, have to live with everyday.
Image Credit: IMDb