No, not the John Carpenter classic. The minute I heard about this film I was very excited to see this film. For those who are not familiar with the story, this film is based on the suicide of Christine Chubbuck. Christine was a depressed reporter who was going through troubling issues in her private and professional life culminating with her live on air suicide in 1974. Its a touchy, eerie and fairly disturbing subject, yet the film needed to not shy away from what happened and recreate the life of Christine Chubbuck, while not shying away from the gruesome event.
I’ve got to say, I was very impressed with this film. You cannot look away from this film at all. Its captivating all the way through even the hard to watch bits. Christine Chubbuck’s pain, anguish, and disillusionment is portrayed perfectly by Rebecca Hall. I’ve never seen a more convincing performance from her. She seems to completely embody the character especially during the uncomfortable bits. A shout out to Tracy Letts as the hot tempered Michael. There are so many great moments from Hall including a volatile argument with Letts (and a similar one with her on screen mother). Wish Hall was getting more buzz for her performance, it may be up there with the best I’ve seen all year.
The film feels like something set in the 70s. There’s plenty of shadows in the picture quality and the color is somewhat muted. It helps add to a dark and foreboding atmosphere. The little things really add to the experience of the film. Hall is in almost every frame as we witness her dark character study. Her health problems impinge her, the pressures of her work keep suffocating her, her love life never pans out, any attempt to move up in life goes down in flames.. we witness it all. You can’t help but feel sorry for Chrstine; you can tell she is going through a hard time and a lot of it is unjust. We stand in anticipation as everything culminates to her death and the payoff is good.
This film does a good job of being unabashedly scary at times. There are few glimmering glimpses for Christine, but these moments fade just as soon as they come. Hope quickly turns to hopelessness. The negative aspects weigh up and bring you down and its inescapable. Its scary to think about how a lot of people have so much going on in their life and how people around them fail to notice what they are thinking. Support services are really important.
Before rambling too much, the final moments are great. Christine seems resolved and at a stage of acceptance with everything around her. I guess this would have made the final events even more shocking in real life. The sudden and shocking nature of the suicide is caught quite well. I do wish the film ended with her shooting herself and her dropping to the floor, would have been more powerful. While the film meanders a bit and doesn’t always seem focused, I am more than impressed with the end result.