2016 #15 – Christine (dir. Antonio Campos)

“So, now, in keeping with WZRB policy, presenting the most immediate and complete reports of local ‘blood and guts,’ TV 30 presents what is believed to be a television first. In living color and exclusive coverage of an attempted suicide.” – Rebecca Hall as Christine Chubbuck in Christine.

Christine (2016)
Antonio Campos
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Michael C. Hall, Tracy Letts, Maria Dizzia, J. Smith-Cameron, John Cullum
Written By: Craig Shilowich
Running Time: 119 minutes (1 hour, 59 minutes)
Genre(s): Biographical, Drama

Biographical films are tricky. At their worst they can be an uncomfortable slog to sit through, but at their best they can be a truly engrossing look into someone’s life. I’d say Christine rests somewhere in the middle of these two sides.

Christine Chubbuck was a news reporter for WXLT-TV who committed suicide live on television in the middle of a broadcast. She is a tragic figure for sure and it makes sense that her life would be adapted in a film such as this. However, it also brings up an important question – how do you portray Chubbuck’s depression and suicide without coming across as exploitative?

Like I said, biographical films are tricky.

Starting with the positives, Christine provides a good look at sensationalism within the media, a look that is still relevant to this day. Rebecca Hall tackles on a very difficult role. Her performance is one that at a far away glance may come across as being comprised of a lot of ticks and mannerisms, but a closer look reveals a lot of depth. It’s a sad, dark performance that is most certainly noteworthy.

If there is anything negative to say about Christine, it is the way it occasionally handles the person it is portraying. At times it seems like Campos’s direction is trying to make Hall appear ghoulish. It’s almost uncomfortable, and I’m not sure the film needed that type of direction.

It also needs to be said that this film (likely intentionally) writes itself into a corner with the portrayal of Chubbuck’s suicide. Considering the film tackles on the theme of sensationalism, the irony is definitely present towards the end of the movie. Does it work? Honestly, I don’t know. I’ve thought about it a lot though and maybe that is what Campos was trying to achieve.

Christine is a dark and depressing movie. Even though this review seems kind of leaning on the negative side, I did end up admiring it towards the end and I do think this film is worth a watch, even if it is unsettling at times. 3.5/5.

2016 Personal Ballot (updates are in bold)

Best Picture
Hell or High Water
Sing Street
The Jungle Book

Best Director
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water
Jon Favreau – The Jungle Book
John Carney – Sing Street
Jeff Nichols – Loving

Best Actor in a Leading Role
1. Denzel Washington – Fences
2. Joel Edgerton – Loving
3. Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
4. Chris Pine – Hell or High Water
5. Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool

Best Actress in a Leading Role
1. Sally Field – Hello, My Name Is Doris
2. Rebecca Hall – Christine
3. Ruth Negga – Loving
4. Taraji P. Henson – Hidden Figures
5. Emily Blunt – The Girl on the Train

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1. Ashton Sanders – Moonlight
André Holland – Moonlight
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Ben Foster – Hell or High Water
5. Trevante Rhodes – Moonlight

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1. Viola Davis – Fences
2. Janelle Monaé – Hidden Figures
3. Lucy Boynton – Sing Street
4. Naomie Harris – Moonlight
5. Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures

Best Original Screenplay
1. Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan
2. Sing Street – Simon Carmody, John Carney
3. Hello, My Name Is Doris – Michael Showalter, Laura Terruso

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Moonlight – Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney
Fences – August Wilson
3. Loving – Jeff Nichols
4. Hidden Figures – Theodore Melfi, Allison Schroeder
5. The Jungle Book – Justin Marks

Best Film Ensemble
1. Moonlight – Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monaé, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali
Hell or High Water – Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Gil Birmingham, Marin Ireland, Katy Mixon, Dale Dickey, Kevin Rankin, Katy Mixon, Margaret Bowman
3. Fences – Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, Saniyya Sidney
4. Hidden Figures – Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monaé, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge
5. Sing Street – Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Maria Doyle Kennedy, Kelly Thornton, Don Wycherley, Ben Carolan, Mark McKenna, Percy Chamburuka, Conor Hamilton, Karl Rice, Ian Kenny

Best Original Score
1. Moonlight – Nicholas Britell
Loving – David Wingo
3. The Jungle Book – John Debney
4. Hell or High Water – Nick Cave, Warren Ellis
5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – James Newton Howard

Best Original Song
Sing Street – “Drive It Like You Stole It” by Gary Clark
2. Sing Street – “To Find You” by Gary Clark
Sing Street – “Up” by John Carney, Gary Clark, Graham Henderson, Carl Papenfus, Ken Papenfus, Zamo Riffman
Hidden Figures – “I See a Victory” by Kirk Franklin, Pharrell Williams
Sausage Party – “The Great Beyond” by Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter, Alan Menken, Seth Rogen, Ariel Shaffir, Glenn Slater

Best Production Design
1. Passengers – Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena
2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Stuart Craig, James Hambidge, Anna Pinnock
3. Hidden Figures – Missy Parker, Wynn Thomas
4. Sing Street – Tamara Conboy, Alan MacDonald

Best Cinematography
1. Moonlight – James Laxton
2. Hell or High Water – Giles Nuttgens

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
1. Deadpool – Bill Corso
2. Sing Street – Barbara Conway, Sandra Kelly

Best Costume Design
1. Sing Street – Tiziana Corvisieri
2. Hidden Figures – Renée Ehrlich Kalfus
3. Captain Fantastic – Courtney Hoffman
4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Colleen Atwood
5. Loving – Erin Benach

Best Film Editing
1. Moonlight – Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders
2. Hell or High Water – Jake Roberts
3. The Jungle Book – Mark Livolsi
4. Sing Street – Andrew Marcus, Julian Ulrichs
5. Deadpool – Julian Clarke

Best Visual Effects
1. The Jungle Book – Andrew R. Jones, Robert Legato, Dan Lemmon, Adam Valdez
Passengers – Pete Dionne, Sebastien Gourdal, Erik Nordby
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Tim Burke, Pablo Grillo, Christian Manz, David Watkins
4. Deadpool – Alex Burdett, Jonathan Rothbart, Ryan Tudhope, Alex Wang
5. Hell or High Water – Jeremy Cox, Scott Hastings, Daniel Holt, Michael Prawitz

2016 Ranked (updates are in bold)

1. Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins)
Hell or High Water (dir. David Mackenzie)
Sing Street (dir. John Carney)
Loving (dir. Jeff Nichols)
5. The Jungle Book (dir. Jon Favreau)
6. Fences (dir. Denzel Washington)
7. Hidden Figures (dir. Theodore Melfi)
8. Deadpool (dir. Tim Miller)
9. Hello, My Name Is Doris (dir. Michael Showalter)
10. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (dir. David Yates)
11. Christine (dir. Antonio Campos)
12. Captain Fantastic (dir. Matt Ross)
13. Passengers (dir. Morten Tyldum)
14. Sausage Party (dir. Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon)
15. The Girl on the Train (dir. Tate Taylor)


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