“Based on true events” rears its head again in Christine, the latest film by Antonio Campos (Simon Killer). The story is based on the life of Christine Chubbuck, a Floridian news reporter who is famous for one late July broadcast, which will not be divulged here. Googling her name will not ruin any surprises, but the payoff is stronger if one manages to go in not knowing what the conclusion will be.
Rebecca Hall (The Gift, Vicky Cristina Barcelona) truly shines as the titular Christine, showing the nuances of depression and pressure in a career woman. Living with her mother and nearly 30 years old, Christine’s life is not what she would want it to be. With pressure at work from her boss Michael (Tracy Letts), to depict the darker side of Sarasota, Christine has to balance her personal ethics for people-orientated journalism with the sensationalism Michael desires. With the station owner in town, head hunting for anchors for a news station in a better tier city, Christine is forced to give everything to work her way up the corporate ladder.
Christine does an admirable job establishing the unease of Christine’s life. Rebecca Hall admirably shows Christine’s ambition and balance of inner demons in the workplace. Her relationship with coworkers is always slightly uncomfortable to watch, particularly her relationship with George (Michael C. Hall) for whom she has feelings. The cinematography by Joe Anderson is simple, highlighting the anxieties of each situation. It’s hard to look away from Christine by design, with the score doing a lot of work establishing the excitement of a news broadcast. While the film is slightly cliché in some aspects, due to the prevalence of Christine’s personal issues and how they’re now, well established character beats, it doesn’t ever feel false. Ultimately, the film shines bright on the Sarasota skyline, with Rebecca Hall giving the performance of her career.