Directed by John Curran
The Kennedys cover up a crime.
“Chappaquiddick was even worse than we think,” said Owen Gleiberman in Variety. The new movie about the scandal is “exactly what you want it to be: a tense, scrupulous, absorbingly precise piece of history,” and it makes the late Sen. Ted Kennedy look like a weasel. On the night of July 18, 1969, as we’ve long known, Kennedy drove off a bridge near a Martha’s Vineyard beach, and the 28-year-old woman he was with died in the submerged vehicle. But while the movie avoids sensationalism, it makes clear that Kennedy truly could have saved Mary Jo Kopechne’s life and that he spent the next week sacrificing the truth to his career. Actor Jason Clarke is excellent as the “arrogantly dim-witted” Kennedy, said James Dawson in TheFederalist.com. As the family’s fixers try to shape the senator’s public response and he suffers the disdain of a “viciously dismissive” father, Kennedy flirts with becoming a sympathetic character before delivering a cravenly dishonest televised speech. Even his allies, at that moment, are disappointed, yet “no one dares say what they are really thinking,” said Alan Zilberman in The Washington Post. Kennedy would serve with honor in the Senate for decades thereafter, but after reliving that episode, “no viewer will think of Ted in quite the same way.” ■