Deer in the Headlights: Chappaquiddick

Guess I’ve been a bit of Ted Kennedy myself recently, deer in the headlights, sort of mired in thought. That’s actually a faulty analogy because I didn’t cause an accident that killed anyone. Just not sure where I’m going with projects and relationships.

But I digress. Chappaquiddick the film (directed by John Curran-the only other film I’ve seen of his is We Don’t Live Here Anymore which was rough, but worthy) is worth it’s 80 Rotten Tomatoes percentage points. Certainly not an upper, Chappaquiddick recounts the fatal accident in which Ted was driving and his female companion is drowned.

Here are two sides of a theory that I wonder what others think-possibly even would be Kennedy scholars who have read or know more…the movie wants us to believe that Mary Jo was a confidante and a champion of Teddy to reach higher politically without a sexual component. If this is true, did that make it easier for Ted to walk around in a stupor for 12 plus hours while his car lay upside down in the water?

On the other hand, let’s say the writers’ (Taylor Allen, Andrew Logan) simply left that out and Ted and Mary Jo were lovers. Would that have been more of a reason for Ted to want to avoid the controversy? It wasn’t just a girl drowned, but also a lover, given that he was married. The movie did seem to intimate that Ted really wanted the ‘boiler room girls’ at this party, but leaves it open for debate the reason, leaning more toward it simply being a family of Bobby supporters needing to get together to wax philosophical about past tragedy vs. future hope.

I won’t go further into the dehumanizing way many of these rich folks treated each other, watch the film to be shocked abut the nuances of that cut throat world.

I will mention the acting though of whom Jason Clarke hits it out of the park. He is definitely deserving of an Academy Award nom though that might just seem too morbid to be giving a nomination to man portraying a man who seemingly killed someone without caring. Bruce Dern was also fabulous a stroke victimized and emotionally abusive Papa Kennedy. Ed Helms is admirable as Teddy’s ‘friend’ and tool, Joseph Gargan, who according to the film, attempted several times to be the moral compass. I will research on whether he’s written a book on his thoughts about this tragic time.

An acting misfire that I will now call the LCK (for Louis CK in Trumbo) goes to Jim Gaffigan. Sure he makes a good bumbly chunky guy, but is just too anachronistic in a movie about tragedy. I kept thinking he was going to look at the camera and say, “Hot Pockets’.

So while I wrestle with the belief that people don’t need to see each other daily for closeness or monogamy, I obviously know if a friend or lover is in a life or death situation and you do nothing, you’re a scumbag, no matter what your last name may be.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Unable to load the Are You a Human PlayThru™. Please contact the site owner to report the problem.