Review: Three Blonde Bombshells Drop Bombs in #MeToo Movement

Director Jay Roach’s film takes us back to the summer of 2016 and narrates a detailed account of Roger Ailes’ fall from grace.


"Megyn Kelly - Caricature" by DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Megyn Kelly stood beside more than twenty other women in a fight to bring Roger Ailes to justice.

Bombshell tells the all-too familiar story of a man in power abusing his power, and women in subservient positions. In light of the #MeToo movement, more women are sharing their stories than ever before, and  Bombshell tells the story of three women facing their abuser before this movement came to be.   


Roger Ailes began his career in 1960 as a political consultant for Richard Nixon during his campaign, working to reinvent Nixon’s image and aid in his election. Continuing in his career as a political consultant, Ailes would later go on to assist Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush in their elections. Ailes’ career shifted toward television, and in 1993 he began working as the head of CNBC, a financial news channel.

Rupert Murdoch, an Australian-born American media mogul, hired Ailes and began the popular Fox News. Ailes continued to use his skills to influence politics and help Fox News rise to the top, soon becoming chair of Fox television.


In 2014, a book titled The Loudest Voice in The Room was published by author Gabriel Sherman and discussed allegations of inappropriate behavior against Ailes. Both Ailes and the Fox News network denied the allegations. 

However, they kept coming. A series of allegations and lawsuits came over the next few years, including Gretchen Carlson’s. Fox News settled with Carlson for a whopping 20 million dollars, as an internal investigation led by Murdoch and his sons found the allegations to be authentic. Ailes was paid a 36 million dollar severance, and he died in 2017. 

More than 20 women had accused Ailes of sexually related misconduct, facilitating a hostile work environment, and unwanted sexual advances going back to the beginning of his career in 1960. Many were offered pay raises or job opportunities in exchange for sexual favors. Ailes often advised female employees to dress in certain articles of clothing, as he described television as being a “visual medium,” while telling them to pose. Ailes would often later use force in order to receive his personal satisfaction. 

In the movie, the quote,  “You know if you want to play with the big boys, you have to lay with the big boys,” from Kellie Boyle’s account of the abuse was frequently repeated. Along with this unsettling catchphrase, Ailes is also said to have emphasized the importance of loyalty to many women, including Shelley Ross. In her testimony, she recounted Ailes’ description of loyalty being a “sexual alliance.” 


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Filmmakers consulted many of Ailes’ accusers in the making of Bombshell, with director Jay Roach saying to IndieWire they “had an obligation to really capture it authentically. One of the things I have done in my other contemporary history films is go deep into actually interviewing real people, not just for authenticity … but also in details you get.” 

Many of the women who came to the filmmakers violated their Non-Disclosure Agreements. The women interviewed were promised anonymity, as Roach continued, “We’re not revealing the people we talk to. We’re trying to protect them.”  

In spite of this desire for authenticity, some fiction was needed in order to portray these events. Though the film depicts a true story, filmmakers took some liberties, including the addition of Margot Robbie’s character, Kayla Pospisil. Pospisil was created as a composite of many female employees, their experiences and testimonies.  

Carlson, the catalyst for this entire ordeal, was not allowed to participate in the making of Bombshell because of her lawsuit. Carlson told Entertainment Weekly, “It’s a strange and frustrating reality that I can’t partake in any of these projects based on my settlement.” Carlson has described being happy at Bombshell’s release because it continues a conversation on sexual harassment that will help other women. 


While many women like Kelly and Carlson are dealing with the effects of Ailes’ abuse, Kayla Pospisil is struggling through it. A young, blonde employee eager to earn her rightful spot on the air, both Kelly and Carlson see themselves in fictional Pospisil. Her wide-eyed, bubbly character is left helpless, vulnerable, and afraid at the hands of Ailes. 

The movie begins with Charlize Theron walking viewers through the Fox News office as a very convincing Megyn Kelly. Soon, it feels as though you are watching the anchors tell you this story themselves. Theron’s transformation into Kelly is incredible, and Nicole Kidman’s Carlson is equally as impressive. Robbie, Theron and Kidman’s performances are right on the nail and always compelling, and their physical appearances match this excellency. 

Bombshell has received an average rating of 66% between Rotten Tomatoes, IMDb and Metacritic. Many critics have praised its unforgiving relentlessness in telling this story, while criticizing the fact that the three lead actresses often slip into ‘caricature.’ 

This movie is enthralling. It’s the type that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Observing the accusers’ growth throughout the film in order to take Ailes down, the internal struggle of Kelly and Pospisil, and the subplot of other predators in the workplace makes this movie exceptional. 

All the material discussed in Bombshell is of great significance, and the movie itself has a vivacious tone.  However, this playfulness does not take away from the seriousness of these events: you still leave the theater feeling as though you’ve been kicked in the guts. This movie is the perfect drama, showing each characters at their highs and lows, while also making their experiences relatable to each audience member.