CHAPPAQUIDDICK Review — Politics As Unusual

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CHAPPAQUIDDICK Review by Staci Layne Wilson

CHAPPAQUIDDICK ReviewEven though the events that gives this movie its title happened nearly 50 years ago, most people know the word Chappaquiddick. It’s a place, but it also evokes notions of politics, coverups, and the infamous “Kennedy curse.”

Director John Curran revisits the shocking and sad scandal in this gripping thriller, giving it a relevant twist as it examines how such things are handled by higher-ups—even to this day, rich people can get away with murder.

Toward the beginning of the film, Senator Ted Kennedy’s (Jason Clarke) car swerves off a wooden bridge on Chappaquiddick Island. He easily exits and leaves his overturned vehicle submerged in the shallow tidal pool.

But there’s something wrong: Trapped inside the car his companion, Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara). She is left to drown. Kennedy’s biggest concern? “I’m not gonna be president.” The first person he calls is his powerful but ailing father, Joe (Bruce Dern), and gets a word of advice: “Alibi.” Ted didn’t report the incident until 10 hours later and of course by then it was far too late to save Mary Jo.

Using true accounts documented in the inquest from the investigation in 1969, writers Andrew Logan and Taylor Allen, craft a fascinating exposé which illustrate the broad reach of political power, the influence of America’s most celebrated family; and the vulnerability of Ted Kennedy, the youngest son, overshadowed by his martyred brothers.

Mara’s role is small, but she makes the most of it. However, Chappaquiddick is Clarke’s tour de force. While the Australian actor may not come to mind when you think of the all-American Kennedy clan, he completely channels the complicated politician during this turning point in his life and career.

His portrayal is neither character assassination nor glorification. We see the possibilities and leave it to us to decide how to feel about what happened.

Chappaquiddick is one of the most riveting biopics to come along in some time.

Rated PG-13
1 Hour

41 Minutes

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CHAPPAQUIDDICK Review by Staci Layne Wilson

If you like this CHAPPAQUIDDICK review , let Staci know: @StaciWilson

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Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson

Staci Layne Wilson is an accomplished writer / director / producer / film critic and the author the bestseller So L.A. - A Hollywood Memoir. Find her on

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