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Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts
Director: Antonio Campos
Running Time: 119 mins
Christine is an American film about the true story of Christine Chubbuck, a roving reporter from Sarasota, Florida, whose personal and professional frustrations led her into frustrations as she struggled to break out of her small town and hit the big time.
Although interesting, this film is really flawed in a good few ways. On the one hand, it excels as an intense character portrait, bolstered by an amazing performance from Rebecca Hall, but it fails to bring any real stakes to its story, often leaving you a little lost about what it’s trying to get across, worsened by poor pacing that often makes for a very underwhelming watch.
Let’s start with the positives, however, with Rebecca Hall’s stunning performance as awkward but determined local reporter Christine Chubbuck. It’s not the first really fantastic turn we’ve seen from Hall, but what proves to be a powerfully deep and riveting performance in this film confirms what a fantastic talent she can be.
The film tells the story of a woman with big ambitions, but regularly sees her life take a knock, to the point where she is painfully frustrated to still be in her current position, both in her professional and personal life. Throughout, Hall gives this woman’s frustrations real depth, managing to walk the fine line between simply being the character and just overacting.
As a result, watching Christine Chubbuck’s hardships unfold is absolutely riveting, and in the film’s middle act, where it focuses itself most on being a character study rather than a generic biography, you’ll be fully engrossed, not to mention hugely impressed by the fact that you can barely see Rebecca Hall in the film, but rather her character.
That’s undoubtedly the film’s strongest point, however the fact still remains that it is an interesting, and often well-written character study, and one that you should definitely take a look at if you’re simply a fan of a good story.
That said, there are still a couple of major issues with this film that make it a lot less impressive than it otherwise could, and arguably should have been.
Above all, the film’s inability to bring together the most intriguing historical moments and the deeper emotional parts at the right time makes for a good few frustrations and disappointments. In effect, the film paces itself very poorly, peaking at totally the wrong moment for maximum impact, an issue that crops up time and time again, not only taking away from what could be a potentially powerful and affecting retelling of a true story, but also completely taking you out of the moment when you expect a peak, and it just doesn’t come.
What’s more is that it’s not all that clear as to what this film is really trying to focus on and bring to light. Yes, it’s a good true story, but there’s not much of a wider context on display here. Although it portrays a woman’s internal crisis fairly well throughout, that seems to be about it, even though its screenplay occasionally seems to hint at slightly bigger scale ideas, again making for disappointment when that doesn’t come along.
Overall, Christine definitely isn’t a bad film, thanks to an amazing central performance from Rebecca Hall, as well as a good character study screenplay. However, it’s a film that consistently disappoints due to poor pacing and a generally uneven script, all of which make it a lot more underwhelming than it really should have been, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.