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Arts and Entertainment Sunday, Dec. 22, 2019 1 year ago

'Bombshell' hits target with emotional impact

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Theron, Kidman, Robbie give powerful performances in depiction of Fox News scandal

"Bombshell" is a scathing indictment of what was going on at Fox News when it was in the hands of CEO Roger Ailes. In this docudrama, we discover that sexual harassment was running rampant and going unchecked.

  In 2016, the former cohost of "Fox & Friends," Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman), filed a lawsuit against Ailes for years of sexually assaulting her. She soon found out what she had suspected all along. There were other victims over the course of 20 years. When news anchor Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) got on board with Carlson, the dye was cast and Ailes (John Lithgow) was forced to resign by his boss Rupert Murdoch, the founder of Fox News. The price tag: $20 million and an apology.

  Oscar-winning writer Charles Randolph ("The Big Short") and Emmy-winning director Jay Roach ("Game Change"), tackle this touchy tale (no pun intended) with respect and a sense of responsibility. The film is also cleverly satirical without making light of the subject matter. Witty quips such as "Sex is sick, but interesting," and "Is sushi liberal food?" are in abundance to force a few giggles, as well. 

  But it's killer casting that catapults "Bombshell" to thoroughly entertaining. Theron, once again, totally transforms herself (as she did for "Monster"), this time into Ms. Kelly. The looks, the voice and the mannerisms are simply spot-on. She manages to brilliantly balance being tough with vulnerability, lending vast insight into Kelly behind the scenes. Kidman comes off as conflicted yet guided by a strong will to put a stop to what is occurring at Fox News behind closed doors. And Margot Robbie, as a fictional composite character (Kayla) inspired by anonymous accusers of Ailes, is a show-stealer. Her wide-eyed naivete as a millennial dying to be on the Fox team and so damaged, is Oscar-worthy. John Lithgow also nails it as the slimy sexual predator, guaranteed to make your skin crawl.

  "Bombshell" is rife with zingers and fine performances. But in the end, it's about brave, intelligent women who risked their careers by telling the truth so that in the future others will not suffer.   

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