Christine (2016 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Antonio Campos|
|Written by||Craig Shilowich|
|Edited by||Sofia Subercaseaux|
Christine is a 2016 American-British biographical drama film directed by Antonio Campos and written by Craig Shilowich. It stars actress Rebecca Hall as news reporter Christine Chubbuck struggling with depression, along with professional and personal frustrations as she tries to advance her career.
The film, which premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, was released in the United States on October 14, 2016, by The Orchard, and in the United Kingdom on January 27, 2017, by Curzon Artificial Eye. The film was lauded by critics, with many praising Hall's performance.
Christine Chubbuck is a 29-year-old television reporter working in Sarasota, Florida. She frequently is at odds with her boss Michael who wants her to focus less on human interest pieces and more on crime, which brings in news ratings. She also nurses a crush on her co-worker George Peter Ryan. Christine begins experiencing pains in her stomach. Going to the doctor she learns that she needs to have an ovary removed which will result in a decrease in the likelihood of her having children.
At work she learns the owner of the station has come to poach some of the Sarasota team and move them to Baltimore. Eager to earn the promotion, Christine takes her boss Michael's advice and buys a police scanner and begins listening to it, hoping for grittier stories. Though her pieces continue to be praised by her co-workers, Michael continues to tell her they are not what the station is looking for. Christine tries to do another type of piece that combines documentary and recreation. Michael not only shoots the story down but also informs Christine that her piece will be replaced with a piece her friend and camera operator Jean had been working on. Christine lashes out, screaming at Michael in front of the whole station and telling him he has an alcoholic wife.
After taking the weekend off, Christine returns to work, and George asks her out to dinner and for a talk. At dinner, Christine confesses she puts up walls around people, and George also confides in her that he used to be an alcoholic. After dinner, George drives her to his old high school and reveals that he used to be an athlete and after being injured himself faced a loss of confidence and drug problems. He tells Christine he wants to help her and brings her into the gym where a self-help group is playing a game called "Yes, But" in which one person says their problems and the other person offers solutions. During the course of the game, Christine reveals to the other person that she is a virgin but desperately wants a biological child and a husband she loves.
After the session, George drives Christine home and tells her he is going to Baltimore. Leaving him, Christine drives to the home of the owner of the station, Bob Anderson, where she pretends she has a flat tire. Talking to him about the promotion, she learns that George asked for Andrea, the sports anchor, to be transferred along with him. Returning to work, Christine plays nice with Michael and asks him for his permission to do a piece. Michael agrees. Christine reads out several minutes of news on local crime, but when footage of a crime scene jams and she is asked to stall, she announces that the station will be airing a live suicide attempt, pulls out a gun, and shoots herself in the head. Initially, the other people at the station believe she is joking but quickly realize what happened when Christine falls out of her chair bleeding. She is still breathing, and Jean accompanies her to the hospital where they are met by Christine's mother who was watching the broadcast. Christine eventually succumbs to her injuries. The last scene of the film shows Jean turning on her television, and eating ice cream, while singing along to The Mary Tyler Moore Show theme song, something she had earlier told Christine she did as a way of coping with sadness.
- Rebecca Hall as Christine Chubbuck
- Michael C. Hall as George Peter Ryan
- Tracy Letts as Michael Nelson
- Maria Dizzia as Jean Reed
- J. Smith-Cameron as Peg Chubbuck
- John Cullum as Bob Andersen
- Timothy Simons as Steve Turner
- Kim Shaw as Andrea Kirby
- Morgan Spector as Doctor Parsons
- Alec Cabacungan as Stevie (uncredited)
Craig Shilowich came up with the idea for Christine after coming across articles online that highlighted Chubbuck's story. He was "instantly fascinated" with it and what drove her to commit suicide on television. Shilowich had endured his own struggles with depression while at New York University in the wake of 9/11. He eventually dropped out of school. "I'd spend days on end walking my room, peeking out of the window, just to not have to deal with anybody," he told The Canadian Press in an interview. The depression lasted for about seven years and he says it went away the same way it came, with little explanation. He saw his story in Chubbuck's pre-suicide struggle and found himself "trying to piece it together" in a screenplay. He interviewed some of her former newsroom colleagues and read news stories to build what he could with hard facts. The rest was imagined.
In May 2015, it was announced that Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzia, and J. Smith-Cameron had been cast in the film, with Antonio Campos directing from a screenplay by Craig Shilowich, who is also producing the film alongside, Melody C. Roscher, while Josh Mond and Sean Durkin would executive produce under their Borderline Films banner.
In December 2015, the first image of Hall was released on Indiewire.com. In January 2016, The Hollywood Reporter released more stills from the film. The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2016. Shortly after, The Orchard acquired distribution rights to the film. The film was screened at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 8, 2016 and the BFI London Film Festival on October 6, 2016. The film was released on October 14, 2016. It was released in the United Kingdom on January 27, 2017 with the UK Blu-Ray releasing on February 27. No Blu-Ray has been announced for the United States, however a DVD was released February 14, 2017.
Christine received positive reviews from film critics, praising the performance of Rebecca Hall. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 87% based on 116 reviews, with an average rating of 7.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Rising on the strength of Rebecca Hall's gripping performance, Christine offers an empathetic look at its subject's public career and painful private life." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 72 out of 100 score, based on 32 critics, indicating "generally favorable" reviews.
Guy Lodge of Variety gave the film a positive review writing: "Far from the austere death march it might threaten to be on paper, this is a thrumming, heartsore, sometimes viciously funny character study, sensitive both to the singularities of Chubbuck’s psychological collapse and the indignities weathered by any woman in a 1970s newsroom. Invigorated by a top-drawer ensemble, with Rebecca Hall discomfitingly electric in the best role she’s yet been offered, this should easily become Campos’ most widely distributed work to date." David Rooney of The Hollywood Reporter also gave the film a positive review writing: "On the evidence presented here, Chubbuck reads as dour and almost scarily intense on camera, so her professional aptitude is questionable even if her dedication is not. But Hall makes it impossible to look away from this portrait of a woman brought to the heartbreaking conclusion that she's beyond hope."
Chubbuck family response
At the time of the film's release, Chubbuck's parents and older brother Tim had died, leaving her other brother Greg as the only remaining member of her immediate family. Greg Chubbuck criticized the releases of both this film and the documentary Kate Plays Christine; although he admitted to having seen neither film, he expressed concern that viewers would only pay attention to the sensational aspect of the story and ignore Christine's many positive qualities.
|List of awards and nominations|
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|Chicago Film Critics Association||December 15, 2016||Best Actress||Rebecca Hall||Nominated|||
|Chicago International Film Festival||October 27, 2016||Silver Hugo Award for Best Actress||Rebecca Hall||Won|||
|Deauville American Film Festival||September 11, 2016||Grand Special Prize||Antonio Campos||Nominated|
|Detroit Film Critics Society||December 19, 2016||Best Actress||Rebecca Hall||Nominated|||
|Dorian Awards||January 26, 2017||Unsung Film of the Year||Christine||Won|||
|Houston Film Critics Society||January 6, 2017||Best Actress||Rebecca Hall||Nominated|||
|Independent Spirit Awards||February 25, 2017||Best First Screenplay||Craig Shilowich||Nominated|||
|Piaget Producers Award||Melody C. Roscher and Craig Shilowich||Nominated|
|IndieWire Critics Poll||December 19, 2016||Best Actress||Rebecca Hall||7th Place|||
|London Film Critics' Circle||January 22, 2017||British/Irish Actress of the Year||Rebecca Hall||Nominated|||
|Los Angeles Film Critics Association||December 4, 2016||Best Actress||Rebecca Hall||Runner-up|||
|Sundance Film Festival||January 31, 2016||Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic||Antonio Campos||Nominated|||
|Toronto Film Critics Association||December 11, 2016||Best Actress||Rebecca Hall||Runner-up|||
|Women Film Critics Circle||December 19, 2016||Best Movie about Women||Christine||Nominated|||
|Best Actress||Rebecca Hall||Nominated|
|Courage in Acting||Rebecca Hall||Won|
|Karen Morley Award||Christine||Nominated|
|The Invisible Woman Award||Rebecca Hall||Nominated|
- "Christine (15)". British Board of Film Classification. November 28, 2016. Retrieved November 28, 2016.
- "Christine". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 11, 2017.
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- Rollings, Grant. "'I THINK ABOUT IT EVERY DAY' Bro of TV anchor Christine Chubbuck, who shot herself in the head live on telly, opens up about her troubled life in new films". The Sun (U.K.). Retrieved February 11, 2017.
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- "Houston Film Critics Society Nominations – 'The Nice Guys' and Rebecca Hall Get a Deserved Boost". AwardsCircuit.com. December 13, 2016. Retrieved December 15, 2016.
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