It’s not a perfect film, not by a long shot. It’s a bit shallow, it glosses over Megan and Gretchen’s bigoted views and is sappy at times. But who cares? It’s hugely entertaining. More importantly, it does perfectly capture the misogynist culture women across the world deal with daily.
What makes the film exciting to watch is the high-pressured newsroom feel it has - the breakneck speed at which things happen, possible scoops, fast dialogue, real-life battles with personalities such as Donald Trump, etc.
Megan (and Gretchen) breaking the fourth wall and narrating parts of the film breaks down the systemic misogyny of their world into bite-size, at times humorous, but totally comprehensible chunks of information. (Interesting fact: Gretchen Carlson signed an NDA, which basically muzzled her. She was not allowed to be a part of this film or story. Luckily other people told it on her behalf.)
Much has been said of Charlize’s physical transformation into Megan. It is quite something to behold, as Charlize completely disappears behind the prosthetics and make-up. She doesn’t quite become Megan either. She’s a hybrid between the two, which I found terribly effective, as Megan Kelly in real life is quite a closed-off, weirdly doll-like individual.
There is a hoo-ha in the press, about the real Megan and Gretchen’s often racist, often bigoted opinions being glossed over in the film. The question is, does that negate what they suffered at the hands of Roger Ailes? I think not. Bombshell might use well-known and flawed personalities to draw a crowd, but the story the film tells could’ve taken place in any firm, in any industry, across the world. It is an important story to tell.
One of the best scenes is where Rudi Bakhtiar (Nazanin Boniadi) is promised a position in Washington in exchange for showing Brian Wilson, former Fox News Washington bureau chief, the inside of her hotel room. Her inner dialogue (marked in italics below) contrasts so completely with what she says. As a woman, I’ve all been there.
“You do get how I feel about you right, Rudi?”
Oh, fuck, fuck, fuck. “I am glad you said that, Brian, because I really respect you too.”
“No, no. I mean, how I really feel.” Just look confused. “All I want from you Rudi, is to see the inside of your hotel room.” Goddammit. “That’s all it’s going to take.”
Don’t react. Make it your fault. “Brian, if I’ve done anything that made you think I feel that way about you, I apologise.” Friends. “We’re friends.” Professionals. “We have a great professional vibe.” Now sell it. “I just don’t do that.” This is going to ruin my career.
“Now I feel like a creep.”
“No, you are so not.”