by Willard Manus
Rebecca Hall takes on the challenge of making us care about a depressed, doomed TV field reporter in CHRISTINE, the new movie written by Craig Shiloweth and directed by Antonio Campos. Based on a true story, the movie goes behind the scenes at WZRB in Sarasota, Florida, where Christine Chubbuck (Hall) is trying to save her job and sanity under the most trying of circumstances.
Christine is beset by personal and professional problems. She once reported for a major TV station in Boston, only to get fired when she suffered a nervous breakdown. Relocating to Sarasota was supposed to be a therapeutic move: a chance to live and heal in the sun, escape her high-pressure existence. Unfortunately, WZRB turned out to be an equally stressful place to work. Even a minor-league TV station had competition, was obliged to scratch and claw for ratings and sponsors.
The intense, idealistic Christine wanted to concentrate on issue stories such as ecology and politics, but her boss, Mike Nelson (Tracy Letts), had other ideas. Weve gotta focus on juicier stories, he tells her. If it bleeds, it leads.
tries to change his mind, but without much success. If she wants to keep
her job, she will have to dumb down her approach, find more lurid stories
with which to entice and titillate the public.