Wednesday 1 March 2017

Film: 'Christine'

The big mystery is why Rebecca Hall wasn't nominated for an Oscar or a BAFTA for this tour de force of acting in an intense drama leading up to the on-air suicide of news reporter Christine Chubbuck in 1974, which I can recollect only very dimly though it must have been worldwide news when it happened.

She works on a local TV channel in Saratoga, Florida, on a news magazine programme where her ambitions regarding what she wants to broadcast are continually thwarted by her unsympathetic boss whose horizons are much more confined and conservative than her frustrated self can satisfactorily work with. 
She's also single and living with her dope-smoking mother (J,Smith-Cameron) who has just taken in a new lover, of whom Christine disapproves. 
When agrees to a date with a work colleague (Michael C. Hall) it also turns out not quite as she'd hoped. 
But to even top these troubles, while she struggles with her unfulfilling work and home lives she discovers something physically about herself, with potentially very worrying consequences (to say the least). 
To complicate matters still further there's an opportunity for someone from the firm to be transferred to Baltimore, and she would dearly love to be that chosen person.

Director Antonio Campos keeps the action moving well. I didn't feel there were any longueurs at all despite all the concentration being solely on the one central character.

Hall appears in every scene and the film's focus never strays from her point of view. She's always at the centre of whatever happens. There aren't many laughs or, in fact, any at all. Her emotions are nearly always kept under the surface and there's only the one shouty scene, which is quite brief anyway. Otherwise she's a time bomb just awaiting the opportunity to explode which, as we all now know, in the end it does.

Rebecca Hall has for some time been one of my favourite 'younger' actresses (now aged 34). She always brings something positive to every film she appears in and has now achieved an elevated status when, from the very start of her career, she had the task of 'proving' herself in her own terms, being the daughter of Peter Hall, one of England's greatest ever theatre directors (and certainly the most illustrious) and actress Maria Ewing. 
Not endowed with what may be regarded as  'conventional' glamorous looks, she nevertheless is a magnetic on-screen presence in whatever she appears - and here she excels as never before, this film revealing her at an exceptional very best...............7.5.


  1. I watched this movie and thought the acting was great!

    1. It was certainly all that, Lon, and not only from Ms Hall. Shame that the film hasn't (yet?) made much of an impact.

  2. Ray,
    I'm always on the lookout for these hidden gems of good films and actors. Thanks for this information on this film.

    1. It's had an unjustly low profile, Ron. Can't understand why when there's probably a lot of Americans around who remember the incident more than I do. Well worth investigating.