Like its heroine, ‘Christine’ is complicated and layered—and in being both, a little lost.
The film follows the last days of Christine Chubbuck, the infamous local news reporter that committed suicide on live television by putting a gun to her head. The suicide itself was the move that finally skyrocketed her to national fame—something she had wanted and worked for in her career but only achieved through her shocking death. The movie is anchored with by its star, Rebecca Hall, who plays the title character. The movie seems to constantly subvert the expectations of the audience—particularly if you are unfamiliar with the original Christine Chubbuck, as I was (and about two thirds of the audience, it seemed). About a third of the way into the movie a particularly annoyed reporter actually got up and left while loudly saying “This movie is going nowhere,” which shocked me but also perhaps gave voice to my inner confusions to what was happening on screen.
Walking into the movie with no expectations of what was about to happen—it did feel as if the movie was lost during the first few acts, perhaps mirroring its heroine in this as you watch her try to make steps in her professional life (to no avail), volunteer at the children’s hospital, and avoid talking to her mother-slash-roommate. Christine is awkward, unfriendly, and self-conscious while also seeming to have no awareness of how she comes off to other people—all acted expertly by Rebecca Hall, who makes her contradictions work. The movie picks up momentum when George (Michael C. Hall, no relation), the anchor at the news station asks her out, and you can finally see a sparkle of excitement and softness radiate through Christine—only to feel the disappointment, as she does when it doesn’t turn out to be a date, but much worse—he takes her to a self help group and drops the bomb that he gets the promotion that she had been gunning for since the beginning of the movie. After that, it’s a sprint to the film’s shocking finale and all the pieces of the puzzle finally come together.
‘Christine,’ like Christine, is hard to be patient with, but the movie’s meticulous approach to delving into psychology behind the woman is worth the wait.
The film is now playing.