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