Starring: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Mark Duplass, Rob Delaney, Malcolm McDowell, Allison Janney, Alice Eve, Brigette Lundy-Paine, Liv Hewson, Alanna Ubach
OUR RATING: ★★½
Drama directed by Jay Roach based on the true story centering on the former Fox News chief Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) and his ultimate downfall that came about after a number of women, including Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron), and Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman), sued him for harassment.
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[over the phone]
Roger Ailes: Great, the future of Fox News is now a goddamn feminist.
Megyn Kelly: No, I’m not a feminist. I’m a lawyer.
Roger Ailes: News is like a ship. You take your hands off the wheel and it pulls hard to the left.
[as they are watching Megyn on the Fox Debate Show]
Kayla Pospisil: What is she doing?
Gretchen Carlson: Great TV. She knows what she’s doing.
Megyn Kelly: Wait. Am I going to be the story?
Lily, Julia: No.
Megyn Kelly: I’m going to be the story?
Lily, Julia: No.
Megyn Kelly: [voice over] Okay, yes. Roger Ailes is paranoid. But his parents were nuts. As he drove off to college they filed for divorce, and didn’t tell him. At Christmas, he came home to find strangers in his house, and all his things, photos, and yearbooks, and trophies, thrown out. I mean, is it any wonder the man created a nostalgia machine for lost America?
Megyn Kelly: [to Roger] I hate being the story.
Roger Ailes: [to Megyn] Nobody stops watching because of a conflict. They stop watching when there isn’t one.
[as they are watching Trump on the news]
Lily Balin: Oh, my God.
Megyn Kelly: Did he just accused me of anger menstruating?
[as Gretchen meets with lawyers to take on her case; they watch one of their Fox & Friends shows]
Gretchen Carlson: [jokingly] HR’s on the phone, because you called me a skirt.
Brian Kilmeade: Yeah, I got to read that manual again.
Gretchen Carlson: I’ll bring it to your office right after the show.
Gretchen Carlson: The attitude off camera was even worse. Steve simply started ignoring me.
Nancy Smith: What did Mr. Ailes say when you complained?
[reading from her notes]
Gretchen Carlson: He said, “You act like it only rains on women. Stop getting goddamn offended by everything. You’re a men hater.” And, “Learn to get along with the boys.” And he took me off the show.
Neil Mullen: But gave you your own.
Gretchen Carlson: Well, in the afternoon dead zone. I mean it was a demotion, and we both knew it. Even though I did increase the ratings by fifteen percent. He moved me to second base.
Gretchen Carlson: With Roger, it’s always about loyalty. He says he can fix things if you’re loyal. And you can guess the ultimate expression of loyalty.
Nancy Smith: We don’t guess.
Gretchen Carlson: I mean, it was always just a joke, a put down. Like, “You’re sexy, but you’re too much work.” I mean, I have a whole list in here. Because that’s just how Roger is.
Nancy Smith: What do you want out of a lawsuit?
Gretchen Carlson: What do I want? I want this behavior to stop. Someone has to speak up. Someone has to get mad.
Nancy Smith: Will other women come forward?
Gretchen Carlson: Yes, they will.
Neil Mullen: If Roger finds out you came to us, he won’t just fire you. He will bang us with a million dollar lawsuit. He will attack you personally. These men care more about their reputations than they do money.
Nancy Smith: Roger won’t stop.
Gretchen Carlson: Oh, I know.
Nancy Smith: You know that?
Gretchen Carlson: Mm-hmm.
Nancy Smith: Colleagues you admire will say publicly you’re superior ambitious woman who’s suing because her career staled.
Gretchen Carlson: Let them.
Nancy Smith: Okay. If we work hard, you might be lucky enough to watch the most powerful man in TV go after you with everything he’s got.
Gretchen Carlson: Thank you. I’m telling you, other women will come forward.
Neil Mullen: Let’s hope.
Kayla Pospisil: There are millions of young conservatives in this country. You can look at my Instagram account, there are. They don’t have a voice on our network. I see myself as an influencer in the Jesus space. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve learned a ton from Gretchen. I truly have, of course. But, no judgment here, my perspective as an evangelical millennial, it’s just not that helpful to her.
[after Gretchen does her show without makeup]
Roger Ailes: You know what makeup does? Keeps everybody from seeing your sweat.
Gretchen Carlson: Well, it’s, most of the mean tweets that I received are about my appearance. So, it is important that we fight back against this kind of bullying.
Roger Ailes: Bullying isn’t meanness. Bullying is people with more power hitting people with less. These jack-asses have cell phones. You have a f**king TV show!
Gretchen Carlson: We have to fight the objectification.
Roger Ailes: Oh, bullsh*t. Listen. Mouth shut. Ears open. Nobody wants to watch a middle-aged woman sweat her way through menopause. Not on National f**king Television!
Gretchen Carlson: Thank you for the advice.
Megyn Kelly: You do understand, I have to be above this, right? I have to be an anchor first, then a woman.
Douglas Brunt: You know, the entire country is talking about your period right now.
[referring to Roger]
Megyn Kelly: Early on he realized for a network to stay on twenty-four hours a day, you need something to hold an audience. That something is legs. There’s a reason for clear desks.
Kayla Pospisil: [to Jess] This is the only job I have ever wanted. I don’t want to be on TV, I want to be on Fox. My family, every day, every holiday, especially holidays, they watch Fox News. We’re like addicts.
Jess Carr: No crying at Fox.
Kayla Pospisil: No crying.
Jess Carr: Also stop worrying if the story’s legit. And if you can’t source it, just go with, “Some are saying.”
Kayla Pospisil: Seriously?
Jess Carr: You have to adopt the mentality of an Irish street cop. The world is a bad place. People are lazy morons. Minorities are criminals. Sex is sick but interesting. Ask yourself, “What would scare my grandmother, or pi** off my grandfather?” And that’s a Fox story. Are you writing this down?
Kayla Pospisil: Oh, it makes so much sense.
Jess Carr: Frighten, titillate.
Kayla Pospisil: Right.
Jess Carr: Frighten, titillate.
[after spending the night with Jess]
Kayla Pospisil: Okay, my parents would be horrified if I went home with a Democrat.
Jess Carr: The lesbianism, however?
Kayla Pospisil: Oh, I’m not a lesbian.
Jess Carr: I’m not a Democrat.
Jess Carr: I’m a closeted Democrat.
Kayla Pospisil: At Fox News?
Jess Carr: I thought that you knew that.
Kayla Pospisil: No, I didn’t know that. Does anyone know that?
Jess Carr: Can you not tell? You can’t tell anyone.
Kayla Pospisil: Of course, I won’t tell.
Jess Carr: I’m so serious.
Megyn Kelly: Just to be clear. I will not be kissing Trump’s a** at nine o’clock.
Roger Ailes: We fight tomorrow’s fights tomorrow.
[on her show The Kelly File]
Megyn Kelly: You may have heard, there was a dust up, involving yours truly, and presidential contender, Donald Trump.
Jess Carr: Wow, nice dress. I hope you don’t wear that to Sunday service.
Kayla Pospisil: Please, I have church jeans, so I can hold a latte on my knee.
Roger Ailes: So, what can I do for you, Kayla? Why did you drop by to see me?
Kayla Pospisil: Well the thing is, sir. I actually started on air during college in Central Florida. Weather. I want to convince you that that is where I belong, Mr. Ailes. I think I’d be freaking phenomenal on your network.
Roger Ailes: Well, it’s Mr. Murdoch’s air. But I did create it. I do run it.
Kayla Pospisil: Right.
Roger Ailes: You have a pretty face. Here, stand up and give me a twirl.
Kayla Pospisil: Now?
Roger Ailes: Yeah, just a quick spin.
Roger Ailes: I’m discreet, but unforgiving. Success in broadcast television is hard, it’s arbitrary. This is the most competitive industry on Earth. You understand what I’m saying?
Kayla Pospisil: Mm-hmm.
Roger Ailes: We could work together. I could pluck you out and move you all the way to the front of the line. But I want something in return. You know what that is, Kayla?
[pause as Kayla doesn’t know what to answer]
Roger Ailes: Loyalty. I need to know that you’re loyal. I need you to find a way to prove it. You think about that, alright? So, we’ll talk again.
[referring to her interview with Trump]
Doug Brunt: I’m sorry, he attacks you for a year, straight. And you let him off with a f**king “oops”.
Megyn Kelly: What? I don’t let him off. I confront him.
[turning to Megyn and Kayla during their tense elevator ride]
Gretchen Carlson: Hot in here.
[the elevator stops, Gretchen and Kayla get out as Megyn looks at them walking away]
[Gretchen calls Megyn after she’s fired]
Gretchen Carlson: I finally did it. I’m out.
Megyn Kelly: Did they give you a cause?
Gretchen Carlson: No.
Megyn Kelly: Good. Ready to go to war?
Gretchen Carlson: Oh, yeah. I’m ready.
[referring to the way Kayla looks]
Jess Carr: Oh, my God. It’s Anchor Barbie.
Kayla Pospisil: I’m testing for a Fox Business.
Lily, Julia: There’s a hotline?
Gil Norman: Yeah.
Julia Clarke: I did the harassment seminar twice. I never heard about a hotline.
Megyn Kelly: Because it’s bullsh*t. They have a contractual right to monitor our communications. A hotline in this building is like a complaint box in occupied Paris. It’s like we’re telling women, “Go on, speak up for yourself. Just know, the entire network is with Roger. No one will believe you. They’ll call you a liar. Oh, and as for your career? You want assignments and air time? Go ahead, call the paranoid man who decides your salary, a pervert, and do that on a f**king anonymous hotline he controls, on a phone he has a contractual right to record.” Jesus f**king Christ! Do you think women are idiots?
Megyn Kelly: If I report this, and it leaks, it will follow me for the rest of my career. I don’t want to be defined by Roger’s bullsh*t. I refuse to be the f**king poster girl for sexual harassment.
[Roger meets with attorney Susan Estrich]
Susan Estrich: But I’m also here as someone who has dealt with this issue for years, years, on the side of women. I don’t want to see sexual violence trivialized. I don’t want to see it become some damn political football. In that spirit, I need to ask. Will an investigation find anything, well, uncomfortable?
Roger Ailes: Well, define uncomfortable.
Roger Ailes: [to his team] We need to let Rupert know what it means if I lose. Gretchen Carlson could kill Fox News! This is a fight for your jobs! If I go, you go!
[after she files her suit and no other women comes forward]
Gretchen Carlson: No woman gets to sue her boss. Rule number one, corporate America, you don’t sue your boss. I jumped off a cliff. I thought one of them would stand with me.
Jeanine Pirro: [to Kayla] Look, sweetheart, this is an island of safety and truth.
Jeanine Pirro: [to Kayla] We need everyone on Team Roger. Everyone.
Eddy: [to Megyn] Well, you know why Roger’s got that door blocking his office.
Kayla Pospisil: Did you think what your silence would mean, for us, the rest of us?
Megyn Kelly: Roger is not my fault.
Kayla Pospisil: It would’ve been nice if somebody told us that he’s after more than legs.
Megyn Kelly: It’s nobody’s job to protect you, Kayla.
Kayla Pospisil: That’s all of our job. I don’t get you, you have power. Why are you still playing by old rules? You’re Megyn Kelly.
Megyn Kelly: Look around, snowflake. How do you think I succeeded? How do you think a woman gets a prime time Fox show?
Kayla Pospisil: [to Jess] These are the end times.
[handing out Team Roger t-shirts to employees]
Kimberly Guilfoyle: Team Roger. Hey, we need you to wear it.
Female Employee: No.
Kayla Pospisil: [voice over] Here’s the thing about being sexually harassed at work. It condemns you to questions. You keep asking yourself, “What did I do? What did I say? What did I wear? What did I miss? Am I seen as weak? Will they say I’m after money? Will they say I’m after attention? Will I be left out? Will I be defined by this for the rest of my life? If I stay do I just have to put up with it? Will the next place be different? Or can I make it different?”
Gretchen Carlson: [voice over] Roger always said, “Everyone on television only has one real job, to be likable.” Well, I don’t care if you like me. Only that you believe me. A lot of people, even women, are skeptical of harassment claims. Until they experience it themselves, or know someone who has.
[looking into the camera]
Gretchen Carlson: Let me be that person for you.
[last lines; Gretchen is with her lawyers going over the legal settlement against Fox]
Neil Mullen: As you can see, it’s twenty million.
Gretchen Carlson: Plus the apology.
Neil Mullen: Correct.
Gretchen Carlson: I can’t believe Fox agreed to the apology. I mean, it’s unheard of. I mean, that never happens.
[referring to the non-disclosure agreement]
Nancy Smith: But you will have to sign that. It’s a strict confidentiality agreement.
Neil Mullen: Many will establish you told the truth, but no one can ever hear it directly from you.
Nancy Smith: You will be muzzled, Gretchen.
[Gretchen signs the agreement]
Gretchen Carlson: Maybe.
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