Christine – BFI LFF – Review

Director Antonio Campos takes a poignant approach in portraying the lead up of news reporter and journalist Christine Chubbuck, who infamously took her own life live on air in 1974 on a regional Florida news station. Rebecca Hall fills the role of the journalist, depicting a character that is respected amongst her co-workers but enduringly pedantic with her own performances on screen. Longing for kinship but unsure how to attain it, whilst further down the line, emerging problems spiral threatening Christine’s dreams of having children and a career promotion.

For a story with an inevitable gravitas and historical moment, Campos and screenwriter Craig Schilowich are guilty in creating a script and film that is guilty of lacking conflict, tension and most emphatically a hook outside of the story’s conclusion. There’s maybe a case that both wanted to honour too many steps of plot lines that lead to Chubbuck’s fall into a dark depression. Giving the light stories the news station and Chubbuck’s reporting was centred upon, one can understand the difficulty in restraining in overdramatizing the true events, yet to please audiences, they have created a news station that is it’s own sitcom that brings lightness and humour to the piece, but feels counterintuitive to trying to portray what is actually tragic.

Rebecca Hall gives a consistent performance that she must have been super keen on to reinforce her reputation as one of the leading actresses deserving of more credit, but giving the misfire of the film as a whole, it’s wasted valour. Curated into the Dare section of the London Film Festival that usually programmes films with a difference or challenging, but unfortunately Christine is neither but just confused, flabby and tragically boring.

★★

Chris Aitken

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