Jay Roach directs Bombshell to demonstrate the downfall of FoxNews CEO Roger Ailes (played by John Lithgow) and Bill O’Reilly (Kevin Dorff). The film reveals that females cannot appear on the cable network unless they first show off their bodies to Ailes—and more. They accept Ailes’s prejudices to get a high-paying job but ultimately balk at being treated as objects, such as showing their legs on camera wearing short skirts. The women who expose them are Megan Kelly (Charlize Theron), Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman), and a fictional Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie).

The plot could have developed as a step-by-step narrative full of suspense along he following scenes: innocence-submission-stardom-harassment-frustration-lawsuit-victory. Instead, various scenes are jumbled together, with three following differing pathways. Megan Kelly asks Trump about his sexist comments during the first debate of Republican candidates for president, whereupon Trump demeans her to the point that her career crashes. Carlson hires attorneys. Newcomer Pospisil gradually learns for herself what the others must have gone through. When the lawsuit goes public, Rupert Murdock (Malcolm McDowell) fires Ailes, whose only defense is denial. The film pretends to offer a feminist plot but instead displays beautiful women on the screen without giving them a chance to demonstrate their intelligence. Instead of a fight for justice, Bombshell depicts women who are winning the age-old battle of the sexes but does not really explain how.  MH

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