Movie review: Hall's powerful performance makes 'Christine' a must-see

Brad Keefe, Columbus Alive

"Christine" is based on the true story of TV news reporter Christine Chubbuck. If you don't know the true story of Christine Chubbuck, the movie may be even more impactful.

As is the case with most biopics, a lot is riding on the lead performance. And while "Christine" as a film may be imperfect, the performance of Rebecca Hall in the title role is a stunner.

The year is 1974. Christine (Hall) is a reporter for a television news station in Sarasota, Florida. She's dedicated to community journalism with nuanced reporting on things like zoning regulations.

Her boss (Tracy Letts) is seeking to reverse flagging ratings at the station with a more sensationalistic "if it bleeds, it leads" approach. As Christine finds herself at odds professionally, her personal life also begins to unravel.

Director Antonio Campos ("Simon Killer") tells Christine's story with a key component: empathy. The film also tries to incorporate a media critique that feels timely even as it's set in a period that can't help but evoke a little "Anchorman" - although "Network" is a more apt comparison.

And while the film's narrative falters a bit at times, the real reason to watch is Hall's performance. It's layered and often restrained, a portrayal of a woman battling on all fronts.

Again, if you don't know Chubbuck's story, this movie may be all the more powerful, but even if you do, that gives every moment of Hall's performance an added layer.


Opens Friday

3 stars out of 4