January 14, 2020

Bombshell (2019)

Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie

I need to start with a disclaimer: this movie is not intersectional. It is for sure peak white feminism, focusing only on the plight of white women who are afforded the privilege of creating careers off racism. I know this. I acknowledge this. I am fully aware of how this creates an unsavory taste in the mouths of WOC and how it can make them not want to watch this. I want to get this out of the way because of course it is a huge weakness of the story. But it is also a true story, and you cannot create intersectionalism where none exists.

That being said, this movie keeps a very tight focus on the sexual harassment case and the culture at Fox News. I think this was a very smart play because frankly, there's no other way to get everyone on the side of the heroines who espouse things like "Santa is a white man." (Also, props to the director for stealthily sliding that in anyway.)

Even while hating the fact that a movie was made about the sexual harassment of only powerful white women, I still liked it. Did it make women I normally dislike sympathetic? Yes. But it also made sure not to totally gloss over the havoc Fox News has wreaked on the American public, repeatedly referencing the toxic culture of fear it has instilled. I also feel like it might be impossible as a woman in corporate America to not relate to this story in any way. I don't know if I can name a single woman acquaintance who has *not* been sexually harassed at work?

But setting aside the particular facts in this case, what impressed me most about the movie was its ability to keep a brisk pace and the integration of proper dates, people, and real footage of the event. I always think it is much more difficult to craft an interesting story out of something that already happened and was highly publicized, as everything is open to higher amounts of scrutiny. But the way the story was woven, balancing the both similar but varied experiences of three different women, was really well done. Also, I am totally blown away by Theron's ability to embody Megyn Kelly. For some reason all the accolades have gone to Margot Robbie, which seems strange to me when I had to keep actively searching Theron's face to convince myself it was really her. Being able to accurately portray a living person honestly seems like it deserves its own award category.

This movie will not be everyone's cup of tea. I get that. It's deeply uncomfortable to watch, even already knowing how it will all end. But I am hoping that regardless of how you feel about the women of Fox News, we can all agree that the type of sexual harassment portrayed in this film is unacceptable and that no woman deserves to suffer through it. Even if they are the kind of person who wants to die on the hill of "Jesus is white."

Final word: Well written, well acted.

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