Christine is a film that documents the last few weeks of a reporter who committed suicide on live television in 1974. Suicide, especially a public one, can insight a morbid curiosity— What drove them to do it? How could they do it publicly? Lingering on the shocking aspects can distort the event into something horrific and disturbing, leaving the impact of the event and the following coverage as exploitative and sensationalistic.
Fortunately, to the benefit of the film and its titular character, Christine handles the subject material deftly. A gripping performance by lead Rebecca Hall, bolstered by a talented supporting cast sheds all abrasive associations, leaving viewers with an empathetic character study that humanizes her plight into a pertinent commentary on depression.
I cannot say enough good things about Rebecca Hall’s performance. All aspects of Christine’s personality are displayed— we are enthralled with her attentiveness to her career, and saddened by her loneliness and isolation. At the same time we are turned off by her abrasive and callous tendencies that tragically shun those close to her when she needs them the most. Many going into the film will be aware of the subject and of the death, and instead of ruining the experience, it makes every interaction more impactful and ultimately, more heartbreaking.
The close study of her life before her shocking end, accurately depicts a person who is on the brink of a breakdown, moment to moment. Every day was a personal struggle, and every day was an attempt to deliver something meaningful as a broadcaster. Personal and professional circumstances have prevented the messages she was trying to tell from being heard, but at the very least, Christine can deliver a glimpse of her life, beyond the death, that was lost in the airwaves.