Christine

Christine ★★★★★

The media crew hustles and bustles about the studio, cutting and adding and scripting frenetically in an attempt to make last minute changes just before the station goes live in front of the entire city of Sarasota, Florida. Cameras are trained on the large desk in the front and center- the stage from which the news anchors perform their art. Reporting is given a sense of artistry, a burst of creativity jumps into the most seemingly mundane report at times in a moment of inspiration. Christine Chubbuck was always looking for that inspiration, that inciting angle to give a fresh perspective on her work that gave her a precious limited amount of creative control. The day and age in which she lived was overrun by an aura of masculinity, where feminism is viewed as an invisible movement not yet given the voice it now has. Director Antonio Campos ensures that we are bred to loathe her boss, who consistently pressures Christine to stick with the standards and dismisses any signs of excitement or creativity she might have bursting from her depression-suffering self. Perhaps the film is a little too direct with how the audience's emotions should be directed towards the individual characters, yet it somehow makes the inciting final moment that much more dramatic in its effectiveness.

I had never heard of Chubbuck or her story before hearing about this film, and I didn't do any research on it prior to seeing this either. Despite knowing how it would end up, I wasn't expecting it to be as swift and shocking as it was, but Campos sufficiently ensures that the dramatic buildup of Christine's story arc makes the finale that much more effective. Rebecca Hall is supremely emotional and psychologically driven in her performance, bringing about a portrait of an individual suffocating in a primitive workplace environment run rampant with sexism in the management. Screenwriter Craig Shilowich mixes factual evidence with fictional fabrication to create a mosaic of who Chubbuck really was in the twilight days of her life. She was a woman dedicated to her art, committed to finding any possible opening to provide a different outlook at a news story. But her tale is layered with oppression, surrounded in an environment still drowning in antiquated thought processes and treatments that perhaps served as one of the biggest culprits to her downfall. It's a heartfelt look at a genuinely misunderstood soul driven through the depths of mental anguish.

Christine is a perturbing experience- a harrowing examination of psychological fracturing in a cutthroat world of journalism. It becomes second nature to feel for Chubbuck through Rebecca Hall's exhilarating portrayal, her emotions expand through every frame, overwhelming the senses with her sentiment of suffocation. Every actor is completely involved, synthesizing a tightly knit cast that helps to deliver the full emotional impact that this film hand delivers to you. It's a film so mesmerizing in its delicate attention to its subject, so deft and swift in its crafty handling of its subject material, so tantalizingly perfect in its lead performance, that I find myself drawn back to wanting to view it over and over again. Christine Chubbuck's story is fascinating, to say the least; but Campos has turned it into a unique work of art that is as powerful in its portrayals as it is in its own messages.

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