A.V. Club

Movie Review: Rebecca plays Christine in an arresting biopic about the first on-air suicide

In what is apparently one of the most remarkable cinema-related coincidences of all time, Sundance 2016 premiered a pair of films, made independently by completely different people, that more or less negate each other’s very existence, like matter and antimatter. The first of the two to be theatrically released, back in August, was Robert Greene’s quasi-documentary Kate Plays Christine, which observes actor Kate Lyn Sheil as she prepares to take on the role of Christine Chubbuck, a TV journalist who committed live, on-camera suicide in 1974. The biopic that Sheil was allegedly preparing for didn’t actually exist (more accurately, it existed only as part of Kate Plays Christine itself), and Greene’s movie ultimately makes a very persuasive argument that no such biopic should exist—that any conventional dramatic treatment of Chubbuck’s sad story would inevitably land in the ugly swamp of voyeuristic exploitation. But now …

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