Director: Antonio Campos (2017) BBFC cert: 15
Astonishingly overlooked by the awards season, Brit acting royalty Rebecca Hall gives a superb performance in this serious and sensitive portrait of a real life suicide.
Christine Chubbuck was a highly intelligent twenty nine year old American television news reporter, who had a history of depression. She shocked the nation by ending her own life, live on air, on July 15, 1974.
We see how a collision of domestic and career disappointments prompt the desperate and provocative act. Hall is tremendous at suggesting how uneasy Chubbuck is in her own skin, her life is full of prickly relations and social misjudgements.
The balanced script raises many issues relevant today, including how women best pursue a family life and a career, attitudes in the workplace, the access to appropriate health care, and much more.
Fashions are unflattering, the off-screen office politics convincing, and the attention to period detail of the analog electronics are a treat for technology nerds.
Chubbuck’s demeanour creates a barrier between herself and her acquaintances, but also between herself and the audience. So while she retains our sympathy, we remain distant to her, preventing us from engaging fully with her plight.