On July 15, 1974, Sarasota news reporter Christine Chubbuck commit suicide live on-air. Forty two years later, people still are asking “why?”.
After a successful run on the Festival circuit, Antonio Campos‘ Christine gets a theatrical release with those of us in Toronto getting a chance to see it first post-TIFF ’16, where it received universal acclaim for Rebecca Hall‘s mesmerizing performance in its titular role. The darkly-humorous Drama chronicles Chubbuck‘s final days before her death, giving us intimate details into her mental state, physical health, in addition to her relationship and work frustrations.
Although we all know what happens in the end, what Campos and Hall do remarkably-well and on a modest budget, is keep us invested on Chubbuck‘s lonely path. This sympathetic portrait has us experiencing each rejection deeply whether it be her unrequited love for co-worker George Peter Ryan (Michael C. Hall) where painstakingly we feel each mixed signal she receives, or more so each blow she takes when an opportunity for career growth is missed or an idea is rejected by her boss Michael (Tracy Letts).
The Film helps us see Chubbuck not only as a defeated career woman, but also her strained relationship with her divorced mother played by J. Smith-Cameron, as the latter looks to get back into the dating world again. Chubbuck in many ways reverts back to being a little girl grappling with feelings of abandonment when her mother finds love again. At the same time, she is haunted by her own frustration in not being able to attract the man whom she has feelings for. The Film captures precisely each of Christine‘s pain points, giving us great insight into what otherwise is perceived as a monstrous act by this misunderstood woman.
Hall has never been better and this speaks volumes considering her consistent delivery of top-shelf work. We would be terribly amiss if we did not mention this. Her performance is an absolute standout in what would be seen as such in any other year.
The Orchard release CHRISTINE, now playing exclusively at TIFF BELL LIGHTBOX.