“Christine” Review

26 January, 2017

Director: Antonio Campos
Screenwriter: Craig Shilowich
Director of Photography: Joe Anderson
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall

Synopsis: The true story of enigmatic news reporter Christine Chubbuck; a depressed workaholic who made headlines in the mid-1970s after she committed suicide on live TV.

Christine Review:

Although there remains almost no footage of the real Christine Chubbuck, it takes only a few photographs to get a sense of the type of person that she really was. Taken during her time as a community affairs reporter, the remaining snapshots tell a story of a depressed and dissatisfied woman; a television presence with great sadness behind her eyes who was overwhelmed by the stress, pressure, and uncertainty that plagued her dead-end career. If you look at the photographs you uncover a story but it’s a story that cannot be conveyed through an off-hand and overly sensationalised re-enactment.

There is an idea of a Christine Chubbuck and it’s lost in this rather dramatic take on the months leading up to her suicide. Where personal accounts speak of an egregiously troubled woman who voiced her suicidal thoughts from a young age, “Christine” searches for the meaning behind her melancholia, undermining a real tale of severe mental illness by forcing a motive upon its unwitting protagonist. Obsessing over the reporter’s woes and suffocating her in scene after scene of heavy foreshadowing, the film seeks validation through tragedy but Rebecca Hall fails to provide the rigid performance necessary to elevate the movie beyond the whims of soap opera.

Where certain movements, gestures, and patterns of speech capture the rather masculine and domineering qualities of the 29-year-old newswoman, the abyss behind her eyes is completely lost. In “Christine” we see a rather content Hollywood actress trying her hardest to reproduce the mannerisms seen in the recovered footage but her rendition is no more awkward than it is unconvincing. The truth is that no matter how much hair tucking and pen chewing that the creators feels is necessary to make the character believable, the woman we are presented with is a mere excuse for a violent ending and it’s one that nonchalantly dismisses her, leaving her to fade in a pool of blood with nothing more to say about her short and tumultuous life.



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