Sunday, October 23, 2022


Movie Name:
Year of Release: 2016
Director: Antonio Campos 
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzia, J. Smith-Cameron, Timothy Simons, Kim Shaw, John Cullum, Morgan Spector, Jayson Warner Smith, Kimberley Drummond, Lindsay Ayliffe
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 6
Watch it on Amazon Prime

Synopsis and Review
After making a name for himself with the features "Afterschool" and "Simon Killer", director Antonio Campos tackled the true life story of reporter Christine Chubbuck with  "Christine", written by Craig Shilowich, in his first produced script (though Shilowich has had a considerable career in producing duties). The narrative focuses on the story of Christine Chubbuck, a news reporter originally from Ohio, who by 1974, at the brink of turning 30 had recently moved to Sarasota, Florida, and was working for a local TV station. She was at the time living with her mother, and had a contentious relationship with the station director, Michael Nelson. Michael wanted for her stories to be more crime focused, more ratings driven, as opposed to human-interest pieces. She nursed a crush on the station's news anchor, George Peter Ryan, which never went anywhere, as his focus was on someone else. As Christine dealt with some health issues, she also learnt that George had gotten a promotion, which translated into an opportunity of going to Baltimore. Witnessing her ambitions being thwarted, Christine was further disillusioned but maintained an air of composure both to her mother and her co-workers, until her final moments. 
"Christine" makes for an interesting viewing experience, since it showcases both the professional and personal challenges a woman with a fairly visible position in the workforce faced in the 70s. It was a transitional period for women as the women's liberation movement which started in the late 60s, was still making its strides. It's also a film that while acknowledging some of the mental health problems Christine was dealing with, which included her struggles with depression and inability to establish close personal relationships, shies away from actually giving a point of view or perspective on what had shaped her condition or was prompting those issues. While the narrative smartly focuses on a very specific timeline, aside from Christine, most of the remaining characters are faint sketches always portrayed with a focus on a specific trait or particular angle (for instance, the station's manager who is always at odds with Christine, the charming lead anchor, the supporting co-worker, and her mother, who lives with her). Christine herself is perpetually characterized in a very unique tone, as someone who is ambitious, inflexible and seemingly devoid of a sense of humor. It's a film who tries to humanize a dramatic situation, but does so while reducing someone to a patterned behavior. The cast is filled with talented performers, starting with Rebecca Hall in the central role, with great support from Tracy Letts, Michael C. Hall, Maria Dizzia and the underrated and always great J. Smith-Cameron. The cinematography from Joe Anderson is solid, as is the production design by Scott Kuzio and costumes by Emma Potter. It's an interesting film and rendering from a dramatic and true story.