The first trailer for the second film of the year about Christine Chubbuck — the newscaster who, in 1974, committed suicide on air — has arrived, and it’s just as disquieting as you’d expect, and is totally centered around what looks like a wrenchingly disturbing performance from star Rebecca Hall.
At Sundance, where the film premiered this year, the Guardian wrote that following The Prestige and Vicky Christina Barcelona, “Hall has largely languished with supporting roles in films that in no way prepare you for the breadth she displays in director Antonio Campos’s tragic character study, Christine.” (If Hollywood, as the Guardian asserts, doesn’t “know what to do with” Hall, her theatre career has certainly displayed that there’s a lot she can do. I can attest, as can Ben Brantley; I saw Hall perform as Rosalind in her father Peter Hall’s (admittedly clearly nepotistic) production of As You Like It a decade ago, and she was fantastic.)
The film, which will be released on October 14, also stars Michael C. Hall and actor/playwright Tracy Letts (who wrote Bug and August: Osage County). Here’s the official synopsis:
Christine, always the smartest person in the room at her local Sarasota, Florida news station, feels like she is destined for bigger things and is relentless in her pursuit of an on-air position in a larger market. As an aspiring newswoman with an eye for nuance and an interest in social justice, she finds herself constantly butting heads with her boss (Tracy Letts), who pushes for juicier stories that will drive up ratings. Plagued by self-doubt and a tumultuous home life, Christine’s diminishing hope begins to rise when an on-air co-worker (Michael C. Hall) initiates a friendship which ultimately becomes yet another unrequited love. Disillusioned as her world continues to close in on her, Christine takes a dark and surprising turn.
The first film, the documentary Kate Plays Christine — actually about another actress, Kate Lyn Shell, playing Chubbuck — opened in late August. Fascinatingly, that documentary was about interrogating the limitations and unknowns of biography and fictionalized portrayal — so I’m personally excited to see all of the comparative pieces that come out of these two perhaps oppositional takes on the story, and on the nature of biographic storytelling in general.
Watch the trailer for Christine:
And here’s the trailer for Kate Plays Christine: