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.

70%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 306

84%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 6,822

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Movie Info

Starring Academy Award (R) winner Charlize Theron, Academy Award (R) winner Nicole Kidman, Academy Award (R) nominee John Lithgow and Academy Award (R) nominee Margot Robbie, based on the real scandal, BOMBSHELL is a revealing look inside the most powerful and controversial media empire of all time; Fox News, and the explosive story of the women who brought down the infamous man who created it.

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News & Interviews for Bombshell

Critic Reviews for Bombshell

All Critics (306) | Top Critics (45) | Fresh (214) | Rotten (92)

  • 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…
  • [A] timely satirical takedown that finds black humour and absurdist comedy in the subject of workplace sexual harassment while never losing sight of its devastating repercussions.

    January 17, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Kevin Maher

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic
  • [Director Jay Roach] and Randolph are rightly fascinated by the social climate and geography of the Fox offices -- the factions, hierarchies, protocols and rivalries that define the place.

    January 13, 2020 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • Disingenuous trash.

    January 13, 2020 | Rating: 1/5 | Full Review…
  • Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, John Lithgow at the top of their game in a solid recap of sexual harassment at Fox News.

    December 24, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
  • With Bombshell, thanks in large part to the contributions of his actors, Roach has crafted a compelling "ripped from the headlines" motion picture that unfolds like a page-turner.

    December 24, 2019 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Bombshell

  • 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
  • Dec 22, 2019
    FOX PAS - My Review of BOMBSHELL (3 1/2 Stars) I love films because they provide an opportunity to experience other cultures, other parts of the world, differing opinions, historical events, and more in a compact period of time. This year alone, I "traveled" to a South Korean suburb, to a 19th century New England coastline, into outer space with Bard Pitt, inside the mind of a Hitler Youth, to a Manhattan rooftop with JLo, to a Chinese household with Awkwafina, and to an alternate universe where I fell in love with Sharon Tate all over again. Man am I tired…and invigorated…and…um…tired! Mostly, however, I'm enriched by the opportunity to go to so many places. Consider my excitement when I had the chance to take a peek behind the closed doors of one the most conservative establishments in the world, Fox News. Tracing the scandal which erupted after its head, Roger Ailes sexually harassed multiple women, Bombshell provides a rare glimpse for liberal Hollywood to dip its toes into a different world view. Despite mixed results, the film proves highly entertaining while also feeling a little icky to this left leaning critic. Featuring three powerhouse leads in Charlize Theron, who literally becomes Megan Kelly, Nicole Kidman as Gretchen Carlson, and Margot Robbie as a fictional composite character named Kayla, the film, directed by Jay Roach (Game Change) and written by Charles Randolph (The Big Short), splits itself into three to tell their specific sexual harassment experiences involving John Lithgow's booming, towering portrayal of Ailes. As such, the story lacks one clear protagonist, but with a pace so speedy, writing so clever, a premise so charged, and performances so energizing, I ultimately didn't care. Unfortunately, it all emanates from a liberal point of view. When it comes to politics, Hollywood most often can't help but distance itself from anything that reeks of Republicanism. It's a way of saying, "Hey, we know they're the cesspool of all things evil and wrong with the world today". Whether you agree with that statement or not, the issue of sexual harassment transcends the political spectrum. As such, I applaud that Bombshell enters the discussion from a fresh perspective. For the most part, it honors the people it portrays but can't help itself in taking jabs nonetheless. I would have preferred a "just the facts" presentation, but I suppose it's hard to resist when a news organization that calls itself "fair and balanced" proves time and again it's not. Despite this fundamental issue, the film blazes away like a stiff-collared, tight skirt-wearing version of Broadcast News, and I wanted it to last much longer. Robbie's Kayla finds herself on an upward trajectory at Fox. She quickly befriends Kate McKinnon's Jess, a lesbian liberal who hides in plain sight as a Fox News producer. It's through McKinnon's character that Hollywood gets to take its biggest jabs, and despite the obviousness of it, McKinnon gives a vibrant, hilarious performance. Same goes for such standouts as Alanna Ubach, a dead ringer for Jeanine Pirro, Allison Janney as Susan Estrich, and Richard Kind as Rudy Giuliani, but it's the work of our three stars who elevate this film. Theron, no stranger to transformative roles, does it again here. She may have had some help with some well-placed prosthetics, but her voice, her command, and confidence really stand out as she struts around the newsroom plotting the resistance against Ailes. Robbie has the biggest arc as the Christian fundamentalist newbie who tears your heart out in her big scene with Ailes. It's creepy, gross, so wrong and something no woman should ever have to experience. Robbie's such a gifted actor, she crackles and sparks with everybody. Kidman may have the least challenging role of the three, but I would never underestimate her power to draw you in and feel the pressures and indignities at her job. She's also the catalyst of the story with her lawsuit against Ailes. A shame the three rarely share the screen together in the film, because the big highlight features the three of them in a wordless elevator scene which proves to be a master class in body language and side-eyes. Roach and Randolph give us a slick, firing-on-all-cylinders approach, immersing us into this world where breathing room has no place. I hate to say it, but it's a fun film about a terrible problem. I felt such compassion for people I have often over-simplified in my mind. I would have liked to know more about our main characters' political leanings and seen it presented with as much conviction as we'd get with a deep dive into the rooms at CNN, but Hollywood wants to have its cake and eat it, too. I say, stop eating and just let me have a look at that cake, ok?
    Glenn G Super Reviewer

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