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Christine

A fascinating, if downbeat, story about a dark moment in one woman’s life and in popular media

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This docudrama recounts an event that happened 42 years ago, and yet aspects of it feel like part of our ongoing collective melodramas that often find an outlet in the mash-up of media and violence. Antonio Campos’ film spends a few weeks in the summer of 1974 with Christine Chubbuck (Rebecca Hall), a TV reporter for a Sarasota, Fla., station. The station is struggling, and so is Chubbuck: She’s lonely, and feels frustrated by her role at work. She longs to do thoughtful on-air pieces, but in its bid for ratings, the station is going with more sensational “if it bleeds, it leads” coverage. Chubbuck’s work and personal life grow more difficult, culminating in a shocking and unprecedented act that occurs on live TV.

Hall is great as the ambitious, prickly and troubled Chubbuck, who isn’t particularly likable but is sympathetic. Certainly the issues that Chubbuck confronts at her workplace — the shuffling of news toward entertainment — remain critical. It’s a fascinating, if downbeat, story about a dark moment in one woman’s life and in popular media. A few scenes are a little too on-the-nose, including a coda that slips in another woman-works-in-TV nod by referencing The Mary Tyler Moore Show, but the film is worth seeing.

Speaking of Christine, Antonio Campos

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