Indie Gems: Christine

Why isn't anyone listening to me?

It's 1974 and Christine Chubbuck (Rebecca Hall) is a reporter for a small news station in Sarasota, FL. She wants to remain passionate about her job, but direction from her boss, Michael (Tracy Letts) means she needs to start reporting grittier subjects and not the friendly think pieces she has been doing. She struggles with depression, she's recently found out she needs to have an ovary removed, thus ending her dream of having children, and she has a crush on the anchor, George (Michael C. Hall) and doesn't know how to go about it. 

A film like this walks a thin line on being exploitative. It's no spoiler that Christine is famous because she shot herself in the head on live TV. But it never treads into that territory. Instead, it presents us with an interesting, albeit frustrating look on mental illness and how some people just don't get help. It's hard watching Christine try to verbalize her problems. It's hard watching her mother somewhat dismissing them due to a past episode. At one point, Christine denies medication that may have helped her because she didn't like how they made her feel. I believe Chubbuck's brother voiced concerns over the media making a freak show of his 30 year old virgin sister, but that couldn't be farther from the truth. I pitied Christine, but not as an object. I wanted nothing more  than to hug her and tell her she can get help. It's devastating she didn't get it.

Rebecca Hall gives an amazing performance. She's stern, but looking into her eyes, you can see all her ideas quickly flashing through them. She barely holds it together at times, and that's when Hall is at her best. It's clear how delicately she treated Christine. We should be talking about her in Oscar season. The supporting cast does well. It's easy to see why anyone would crush on Michael C. Hall. Letts, Maria Dizzia, and Timothy Simmons also give strong performances as her colleagues, and wishful friends. The feel of the 70's is captured well. I liked director Antonio Campos's plain approach. A story like this doesn't need flash camera angles. It needs focus, and he gives it that.

Grade: A

Memorable Quote: "It's like we have all these different versions of ourselves competing to be the real us." - George (Michael C. Hall)

18 comments:

  1. Nice to see Rebecca Hall in a meaty role! This one looks really dark & heartbreaking but I can't wait to see it.

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  2. I've heard a lot of great things about this film and Rebecca Hall who continuously is becoming underrated. Plus, I think the film is becoming very relevant considering all of the news we're getting as we don't know what is true these days.

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    1. It is, which is why I wish the studio behind this would've advertised it better. It shouldn't be so hard to find.

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  3. Good reivew. Yeah. It's easy for this to slip into exploitation but instead I felt the film was an honest but also sympathetic look at depression and loniliness.

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    1. I agree, this could've been bad but it never went there. I thought it handled the subject very well.

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  4. Here here! I am just disappointed that folks are just getting around to the genius of Hall and this movie. This movie came out waaaaaay before the Oscar nominees did.

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    1. It did. The studio should've pushed hard for Hall, she could've easily gotten in if more people had seen this.

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  5. I keep getting this movie confused with Jackie, and I need to see both! Great review :)
    By the way, I've nominated you for a Sunshine Blogger Award! https://oftenofftopic.wordpress.com/2017/02/05/move-over-la-la-land-i-have-2-award-nominations/

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    1. Thank you! :)

      Yes, very different from Jackie, but just as good.

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  6. I've heard nothing but great things about this film - just waiting for its UK release. Great review! Enforces my intrigue!

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    1. It's a hard film to watch, but so good. I really hate that it's not an Oscar nominee.

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  7. Looking forward to watching this! Great review.

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  8. Nice review! Christine was my favorites last year. It's truly a gem, and such a sad, fascinating one too.

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    1. I know :( Rebecca Hall was robbed of an Oscar nomination.

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  9. I've read many raves of this but I'm still reluctant to see it. A great deal of that hesitation stems from the fact that I remember the actual incident.

    I was very young, it's one of the first world news stories I actually recall clearly aside from the moon landing, Judy Garland's death and the Manson murders and the horrifying nature of it is the reason why. So many years on most of what I recall is how shocking and terribly sad it all was and I'm leery of revisiting the story.

    I'm sure it's a compassionately done project with a powerful lead performance but some things are best left be.

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    1. I don't think I've ever spoken with someone that remembered this. I can see why you might hesitate. It is done very tastefully though. I think the film would've still worked even if they hadn't showed the shooting. It was really about her state.

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No seriously, post one. I need attention.