The movie Chappaquiddick is not about the following: chapped lips, ducks, a wizard’s sport, a memory device to make sure you have chaps on when dressing up like a cowboy, what a Chappaquiddick is.
I think what surprised me the most about this story is what lies they told. Almost like they weren’t actually corrupt bad people to start with. Because me, in that situation, I’m not trying to do the right thing at any point as long as I can cover for myself. But I’m also not running for public office because I could not handle the scrutiny. I came out of the movie going, oh, he could have been a good elected official because of the reasons he stepped away.
This is a solid political intrigue movie. It sits there with The Post and Concussion in tone and content. They all don’t have that extra special spark that propels them into a plethora of awards and commercial success like Spotlight but are definitely worth seeing.
The movie is really two vignettes. The first sets up the issue. The second resolves it. My main complaint about this movie is the constant tension without much relief for the viewer. Movies like that can leave you tired and make it harder for you to catch the small things. The tension did serve as a kind of surface for the relationships to float upon though. And the relationships were nicely developed across a tight space like this plot.
The big moments were well scripted if a bit obvious. But when you’re dealing with non-fiction you probably can’t go too far off script unless you do (looking at you Darkest Hour). The acting was good but it needed to be in order to carry the story. There were recognizable faces but it’s not like those faces were necessary. I believe the direction and script would have worked with any reasonable cast.
Verdict: 4/5 Not too heavy, not too light, you could make it work for most movie nights. But really, it manages to show some interesting things about political dynasties without really delving into partisan politics.