‘The Loudest Voice’ reviews: What do critics think of Russell Crowe as Fox News mastermind Roger Ailes?

The Loudest Voice” premiered on June 30 on Showtime, and it’s the latest (but not the last) dramatization of the rise of right-wing media in the United States. Last year’s Oscar-winning “Vice” explored the rise of Dick Cheney and tangentially touched on the sinister Fox News phenomenon. The 2018 documentary “Divide and Conquer” went deep into the rise and fall of Fox News mastermind Roger Ailes specifically. And now this latest drama, told in seven parts with Russell Crowe playing Ailes, delves even deeper. But what do critics think of this latest account?

As of this writing “The Loudest Voice” looks a little bit like “Vice” actually, with a MetaCritic score of 61 indicating strong admiration mixed with some disappointment and concern. That’s based on 18 reviews counted thus far, 9 of which are positive, 8 of which are mixed and only 1 of which is outright negative. That’s consistent with Rotten Tomatoes, where the series currently has a 52% freshness rating based on 21 reviews, which are split right down the middle.

But Crowe’s performance in the lead role is being described as “excellent”; “the actor all but disappears” into the role of Ailes. Naomi Watts co-stars as Gretchen Carlson, the Fox News personality who came forward with sexual harassment allegations that helped finally take down Ailes, and she “deftly communicates the seething rage of a woman continually being underestimated and undermined.”

Are you excited to see this take on the Ailes story? If nothing else it might whet your appetite for the Jay Roach movie version in the works with John Lithgow as Ailes and Nicole Kidman as Carlson. Check out some of the “Loudest” reviews below, and join the discussion on this and more with your fellow TV fans in our forums.

Kristi Turnquist (The Oregonian): “Can ‘The Loudest Voice’ break through the din and deliver insights? Based on the first three episodes made available for screening, the answer is, oh, probably not. But thanks to a brisk pace, straightforward storytelling and a terrific central performance by Russell Crowe, ‘The Loudest Voice’ builds up considerable steam, even when we know what’s coming.”

Krutika Mallikarjuna (TV Guide): “‘The Loudest Voice’ feels like you’re watching an incredibly f—ed up modern adaptation of ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ … Every moment of catharsis you might feel while watching The Loudest Voice comes with a massive caveat. If you consider the battle over and won, then the loudest voice in the room will keep echoing from well beyond the grave.”

Kristen Baldwin (Entertainment Weekly): “Crowe is excellent as Ailes; the actor all but disappears inside his synthetic girth, and he toggles effectively between Ailes’ avuncular charm and apoplectic rage. But did we really need the Oscar winner to spend hours in makeup each day to remind us that Roger Ailes was a bad dude? After three episodes, I found myself wishing the show had approached Ailes’ story from a different perspective”

Sophie Gilbert (The Atlantic): “‘The Loudest Voice’ is, for the most part, a fascinating breakdown of how one man used a media platform to upend politics … It’s a worthy mission, but it leaves the character at the center of the series at something of a distance. Is he a true iconoclast, or just an opportunist? … Naomi Watts … more deftly communicates the seething rage of a woman continually being underestimated and undermined.”

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