Christine (2016)

christine poster 2016 movie rebecca hall
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good performance by Rebecca Hall

Difficult to watch for many

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Christine

Studio:   Great Point Media

Genre(s):   Drama

Release Date(s):   January 23, 2016 (Sundance)/October 14, 2016 (US)

MPAA Rating:   R

christine chubbuck chicken lady interview


Christine Chubbuck (Rebecca Hall) is an introvert in an extrovert world.  As a reporter at WXLT in Sarasota, Florida, Christine finds that her style of journalism is falling behind in favor of “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality…something she can’t adjust to.  With a conflict at work, a potential job advancement, a mother (J. Smith-Cameron) who has found a new love interest, a bad diagnosis, depression, and a crush on the lead anchor George Peter Ryan (Michael C. Hall), Christine’s emotions and mental state is pushed to the limits…and when pushed, the unthinkable can occur.

Directed by Antonio Campos, Christine is a biopic drama about the life of reporter Christine Chubbock (1944-1974) who is known as the first person to commit suicide live on air.  The film premiered at Sundance in 2016 and received positive reviews.

christine chubbuck boss john cullum rebecca hall

Remember that time you showed up at the house of your company’s owner in the middle of the night and tried to convince him to give you a promotion…because that worked

There are a lot of shocking moments in television history.  If you go on YouTube, you find things that occurred on-air (or now streamed online) that were unexpected and unplanned.  One of the things you won’t find is the death of Christine Chubbuck which surprisingly has remained less known than other horrible things that have happened live.  With only one copy of the tape existing in her family’s possession, the event is unseen except for those who saw it in 1974 (which is thankful due to the brutality).  Despite the shock value of Christine’s actions, the story is worth telling since it is a story of mental depression and what can happen.

The story basically follows the last month or so of Christine’s life.  It is an interesting character study since her character is so backward and uncomfortable in her own skin.  She’s in a high profile position with people watching her, but she is so uptight and has so many problems that being in the public eye just magnifies it (in her mind more).  This combined with all her other problems has her screaming for help to multiple people, but the stigma (even more so in 1974) of mental health issues leads to a bad fate…most of the signs were there, but no one read them or assumed “she’ll get better”.

christine chubbuck movie suicide on air rebecca hall

Should this have been part of the movie? I don’t know…

The film is primarily about Rebecca Hall.  She has a nice supporting cast with Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, J. Smith-Cameron, John Cullum, and Maria Dizzia, but Hall must carry the film and she does.  Her insecurities are all upfront, and she is awkward (I don’t know if Chubbuck was as awkward in real life).  This leads to some painfully uncomfortable moments when she tries to interact with others, and the interactions all feel scripted on her side (because they are).

The movie also looks good.  Working in TV, it is great to see the throwback news equipment and the styles of the 1974 broadcast (at a lower end market).  A lot of the stuff feels pretty genuine and that is unusual in movies where broadcasts occur.

Christine is an interesting movie with a great performance from its lead.  It is uncomfortable and hard to watch, but overall, it is kind of important in understanding depression.  I don’t know if the movie should have shown “the act”, but it was probably necessary to show the brutality of what she did and how suicide is something in the end that is selfish…imagine those it traumatized who did see it or how it affected the children that Chubbuck worked with?  There are always alternatives and help.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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