A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Courage inspires courage. The film is an eye-opening account of how women are sexually harassed and manipulated in the workplace, as well as the Herculean bravery and effort it takes to undo the unfair practices of a giant corporation. Because of the sexist treatment women have endured in corporate America, women need to to support each other, even in a competitive environment.
Positive Role Models
As portrayed by Nicole Kidman, Gretchen Carlson is shown to be smart, brave, self-confident, resilient, perseverant, a woman of integrity. In filing a lawsuit against her powerful boss, Carlson knocked down the first domino that brought out other women to tell their stories and paved the way for the #MeToo movement. As portrayed by Charlize Theron, Megyn Kelly demonstrates toughness and thoughtfulness required to take on the most powerful men in the world; that said, Kelly's slow decision-making process to support other women is problematic.
Violence & Scariness
Verbal threat of violence. Sexual harassment/pressure/violence in the workplace is a central theme. A woman asking for a promotion is told to lift her skirt for professional reasons. A presidential candidate tries to "slut shame" (their words) a female professional in an act of revenge.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Given the subject matter, a lot of blunt talk about sex and insinuations, but nothing graphic happens on screen. Twice it's made clear that sex just occurred; postcoital pillow talk is shown between two different couples. Discussion of well-known male media personality's documented use of a sex toy.
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Crass sexual language/profanity includes "ass," "blow job," "bulls--t," "sucks c--k," "crap," "goddamned," "pecker," "a--hole," and "t-ts." Recurring use of "f--k," and "s--t." Also "oh my God," and "Jesus f--king Christ." A man is insulted by the suggestion that he's gay.
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Products & Purchases
Lots of mention of Fox News/properties, but not in a positive light.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Characters drink wine/alcohol in social/celebratory situations. Drinking "too much" leads to a consensual sexual situation by aspirational characters (presented as funny). A wealthy, powerful executive smokes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Bombshell is director Jay Roach's outstanding fact-based drama about sexual misconduct allegations at Fox News. The film is an eye-opening account of how women are sexually harassed and pressured in the workplace, as well as of the bravery and effort it takes to undo the unfair practices of a giant corporation. It blends the experiences of real-life figures like Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) and Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron) with those of Kayla (Margot Robbie), a fictional stand-in for women who are less well known. There's lots of talk about sex but no on-screen action, though sex is implied and two women are seen putting their clothes back on after a drunken hook-up. A powerful figure is briefly shown smoking, and there's lots of swearing/crass language ("f--k," "s--t," and more). For a film that takes place in a highly political environment at a highly political time, there's no political preaching. The movie can serve as a useful tool for parents to share with older teens as a warning about how manipulation occurs -- as well as a primer in what constitutes sexist behavior, how it's difficult to counter, and how women truly feel about it. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Decades are often required to assess history, but filmmaker Jay Roach shortens the gap with this alarmingly accurate film about how women began to topple the gender power dynamic in 2016. Bombshell serves to remind viewers that the revolution started in the most inauspicious of locations: the conservative hallways of Fox News. Be prepared for a shift in perspective -- it really doesn't matter if you do or don't like Gretchen Carlson or Megyn Kelly's politics; you'll connect with the difficult position they're in and respect them for the decisions they ultimately made. Carlson may have been a bit naive when she filed her lawsuit, but the film helps you understand that her bold decision to fight back against the sexist treatment she received was both heroic and sacrificial (some cynics may think that getting a hefty payout is worth a "muzzle," but anyone in the entertainment or critical journalism space will tell you that staying quiet feels like an exercise in having your hairs pulled out, one by one).
Theron is such a dead ringer for Kelly -- voice, walk, mannerisms -- that it's almost unnerving. The similarity helps you get lost in the authenticity of the story, especially when it's meticulously intercut with real footage and real stories of what actually went down. Some people may think it's too soon to make a movie about these events, and perhaps that's right, since even the film acknowledges that we still don't know how it will all play out. But the creation of a living document to show our sons and daughters real examples of sexism, degradation, and harassment in the workplace -- from bold assault to microaggressions -- is invaluable.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.