Christine (2016 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Antonio Campos|
|Written by||Craig Shilowich|
|Edited by||Sofia Subercaseaux|
Christine is a 2016 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 had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 23, 2016. It 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. After experiencing pains in her stomach, Christine's doctor tells her 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 intends to promote some of the Sarasota team with a move to Baltimore. Eager to earn the promotion, Christine buys a police scanner and begins listening to it, hoping to find grittier stories. Though her co-workers praise her stories, Michael continues to tell her they are not what the station is looking for. Christine tries to do a piece combining documentary and recreation, but is shot down by Michael, who also informs Christine that her segment will be replaced. Christine lashes out, screaming at Michael in front of the whole station.
After taking the weekend off, Christine returns to work, and George asks her out to dinner so they can talk. At dinner, the pair confide personal secrets. After dinner, George tells Christine he wants to help her and brings her to a self-help group. The group plays a game called "Yes, But" in which one person describes their problems and the other person offers solutions. During the course of the game, Christine reveals to her partner that she is a virgin but desperately wants a husband and a biological child.
George drops Christine off at home and tells her he is being promoted to the Baltimore team. Alone, Christine drives to the home of Bob Anderson, the owner of the station, where she pretends she has a flat tire. They discuss the Baltimore promotions and Anderson reveals that George asked for Andrea, the sports anchor, to be transferred with him, which devastates Christine.
At work, Michael gives Christine permission to do another segment. Christine reads out several minutes of local news. 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. Christine falls out of her chair bleeding, causing her disbelieving co-workers to realize it is not a prank. She is taken to the hospital, where she eventually succumbs to her injuries. Her mother and colleagues are devastated. One of them, Jean, puts together Christine's news clippings into a memorial film.
- 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
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 choose death by 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. Antonio Campos was signed to direct from a screenplay by producer Shilowich. Melody C. Roscher also produced with Borderline Films' Josh Mond and Sean Durkin as executive producers.
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 88% based on 123 reviews, with an average rating of 7.31/10. 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 not having seen either 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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- "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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