It’s a very strange coincidence that last year’s Sundance screened two unrelated films about a relatively unknown incident from 1974 – Christine Chubbuck, an American news reporter struggling with depression and professional frustrations who shot herself on live television. One is Kate Plays Christine, a documentary/drama by Robert Greene documenting a young actress going to great lengths to research Chubbuck’s mannerisms – seemingly to the point of reenacting her final moment. The other is a drama by Antonio Campos, director of Simon Killer (2012), who cast London born actress Rebecca Hall in the title role.
The story details the life of Christine Chubbuck, as a bigger job opportunity opens up at the news station in Florida, Christine struggles with her morals to adopt the station manager’s sensationalist approach to the news. As pressures, both external and internal mount, the film explores the days that lead a woman to a mental breakdown and resulting suicide. This is the first screenplay for writer and producer Craig Shilowich who along with Campos has taken a story which if treated poorly could have resulted in a B-grade reenactment, and turned it into an engrossing portrait of human nature. Footage from the trailer reveals that Hall has completely captured and brought a character to life, delivering absolutely one of the best, most transformative and most emotionally engaging performances in recent history. I smell best actress awards. The cast also includes Dexter‘s Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts and Maria Dizzia.
Christine was released in the US in October and will be released theatrically in the UK on January 27th. You can watch the trailer below.
Rebecca Hall and Michael C. Hall in Christine
Rebecca Hall as Christine