I am not really sure who this movie is for. You could say that about a lot of these pseudo-political, pseudo-comedic based on a true story narratives we have been getting a lot of recently. It feels like this should be for the older generation that watch Fox News regularly, but it’s also aimed against them. It’s weird, but I guess late December is just the release for movies like this and Vice. Political dramadies about people in charge.
Anyway, the plot follows Megyn Kelly, Gretchen Carlson, and Kayla Pospisil fight to our Roger Ailes, CEO of Fox News for sexual harassment.
There are a lot of things to like about the movie. The headliners are stars and they put in that work. It’s almost like it’s not a surprise that Margot Robbie is great, or Charlize Theron, or Nicole Kidman. They are great because they blend a down to earth, but bigger than life quality TV anchors have into their roles. The whole is really great and giving a real down to earth performances to match the likeness (and likability in some cases) of the people they’re portraying. John Lithgow as Roger Ailes is a revelation. You get a full picture of the man, what made him a good boss, and why he had to go. Lithgow totally blends that into the role perfectly. Malcolm McDowell as Rupert Murdoch was a nice treat too.
The editing, shot composition, and cinematography are all on key to make a movie where people are mostly sitting or standing in offices and board rooms feel like tense standoffs. Margot Robbie’s Kayla has her first meeting with Roger and it is nail biting. The natural performances and inter-cutting between characters in a scene, the long pauses held with just the perfect expression really capture you in the room with them.
The most interesting tactic the movie does is what it doesn’t do. It does not attack Fox News directly. Whether you agree with the stations politics is not important to the film. What it cares about, and asks you to care about is the culture at the station. It says that Roger Ailes did bad deeds to women. It says that the women were coerced in some way to act how they did. That is what it cares about. I do not follow either Megyn Kelly or Gretchen Carlson, but I’m sure that even as they were harassed and attacked for coming out, that they still held many of the beliefs that made them want to work at Fox. Whether you agree with them or not is up to you, but what happened to them was real and tragic in their life and they took that stand.
The title is a fun pun too. The news story and scandal on outing of Roger Ailes was a bombshell, but so where the ladies that brought it to pass. Giving them a voice by giving the title that extra meaning is really compelling in its own way.
This all sounds so perfect. It is not. The movie is not long enough, or doesn’t use its time wisely. It’s multiple characters mean they must break with one story to continue another. The movie also devotes a lot of time to side characters and cutaways that, though they don’t detract from the message, do detract from the story of the three main women. It could have used some clean up either in editing or script.
This movie is very similar to 6 Underground. It is about a group of people taking on a tyrant and winning. In 6 Underground it was a haphazard mess. It is still a mess in some ways here, but is coherent and close to powerful (or maybe it is powerful I am not a woman, but it got me in places).
It is good, you could see it if you’re done seeing Star Wars, or wait till the home release.