Bombshell

Critics Consensus

Bombshell benefits from a terrific cast and a worthy subject, but its impact is muffled by a frustrating inability to go deeper than the sensationalistic surface.

69%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 321

84%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 6,822

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Movie Info

The provocative real story of three whip-smart, ambitious, strong women who anchored one of America's most powerful news networks -- becoming headlines themselves when they risked everything to stand up to the man who made them famous.

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Critic Reviews for Bombshell

All Critics (321) | Top Critics (69) | Fresh (220) | Rotten (101)

  • This superbly acted Faustian tale may inhabit the world of white privilege but it is terrific at unpicking the workplace sexism millions of ordinary women face every day.

    January 29, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • It's Bombshell's modus operandi that female leads are continually explaining things to men, but the women-only interactions are the strongest - epitomised by a moment when Gretchen, Megyn and Kayla silently share the same lift.

    January 21, 2020 | Full Review…
  • It's this element of recoil from total sympathy with these harassed women that makes the film intriguing though.

    January 21, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Bombshell is a fine enough movie, one that's entertaining and well-paced when you're watching it but forgettable as soon as you leave the theatre.

    January 19, 2020 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
  • What happened to these women is appalling; that the film takes such pains to sand down the politics of its central characters to make them more sympathetic undermines its entire thesis.

    January 18, 2020 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…
  • Thanks to the exceptional cast and the witty, smart direction, the story of what happened such a short time ago is both bitterly entertaining and unashamedly provocative.

    January 18, 2020 | Rating: 4.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Bombshell

  • Sep 18, 2020
    Incredibly provocative and controversial, Bombshell is a compelling issue drama. While the film purports to be about the Roger Ailes scandal of 2016, it just uses that as a pretext to tell a sexual harassment drama (and to take some knocks at FOX News). Half of the main characters are fictitious and there wasn't any cooperation from the alleged victims, so there's no real attempt to tell the true story of what happened. Still, it's an engaging and evocative story about an important social issue. And the film has a strong cast that includes Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, and John Lithgow. Bombshell has some problems, and isn't exactly fair and balanced, but it presents a chilling look at the struggles that women go through in the workplace.
    Dann M Super Reviewer
  • Mar 02, 2020
    Performances are all outstanding, but it's not a movie. It's more like HBO.
    Aldo G Super Reviewer
  • Dec 29, 2019
    "Bombshell" further proves Charlize Theron is hands down the best actor (male or female) in the past twenty years. She is spot on as the Fox News bombshell Megyn Kelly as are Margot Robbie as up-and-comer Kayla and Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson. Any film that showcases Mark Duplass, Rob Delaney, Connie Britton, Allison Janney and Malcolm McDowell as a supporting cast can't fail. Director Jay Roach keeps "Bombshell" tight and suspenseful. Ailes was despicably savvy. (12-28-19)
    John C Super Reviewer
  • Dec 22, 2019
    More an expose on toxic work environments than anything overtly political, Bombshell is an effective true-life drama about the many pitfalls, humiliations, traps, harassment, and compromises that women face in the workforce. We follow the downfall of news magnate Roger Ailes (John Lithgow), the imposing man who built the Fox News empire and who also bullied his employees and solicited sexual favors from the many women who were on his payroll. Margot Robbie plays an invented character meant to provide that entry point into Ailes the creep in creepy action. She'll be harassed and pressured for sex by a man described as "Jabba the Hut," and Robbie is terrific in her big dramatic moments portraying what the pressure and shame does for her ambitious anchor. The other two main characters wrestle with how far to go in a corporate culture of keeping secrets from very powerful, very dirty old men. Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) is consulting lawyers for a personal harassment lawsuit against Ailes the person, not Fox News, but she needs other women to come forward. Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) is struggling with the scrutiny she has endured after then-presidential candidate Donald Trump turns his small Twitter thumbs against her. The Fox bigwigs won't go on record to defend her, and their journalists, because they need Trump to drive ratings. The movie uses several Big Short-style narrative tricks to help tell its sordid tale, including swapping narration and fourth-wall breaks; a run through of hearing from Ailes' past victims in their own words is striking, especially a woman who says she was only 16 at the time. Part of the fun are the many many cameos and just watching actors portray different Fox News personalities (Richard Kind as Rudy Guiliani!). The makeup is also phenomenal and Theron looks unrecognizable as Kelly. The film itself doesn't feel like it's telling you anything you already don't know about the subject; people will compromise their morals for personal gain, power leads to exploitation, women are unfairly treated, and it's easier to fall in line than stand up to power. There's still a thrill of watching the downfall of a serial abuser, and the acting is strong throughout, but Bombshell can't shake the feeling of being a slicker, more star-studded TV movie version of recent history. Even with the urgency of the topic, it feels light, and not because of its use of incredulous humor. I could have used more behind-the-scenes details, and maybe that's where Showtime's miniseries The Loudest Voice comes in, retelling the same story with Russell Crowe as Ailes. It's a solid movie on a very pertinent subject and worth seeing but it also makes me wish for a harder-hitting, more widely sourced expose on this very bad man who felt forever protected by the status quo of power. Nate's Grade: B
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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