‘Chappaquiddick’ Review

ChappaquidickChappaquiddick is a historical drama film directed by John Curran and written by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan. The film stars Jason Clarke, Kate Mara, Ed Helms, and Jim Gaffigan with Bruce Dern, Clancy Brown, and Olivia Thirlby in supporting roles. The plot follows the subsequent political and social ramifications of the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident, wherein then Massachusetts Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car into a lake resulting in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, who was a passenger at the time. John Curran does a decent job directing the film and giving the audience an inside look into how politics crosses over into private life. Also showing how those who have wealth and political power can manipulate the system to work in their favor. Curran develops the main characters enough for viewers to see where they are coming from and why they make the choices that they do. Jason Clarke does a fine job portraying Ted Kennedy. There is a duality to his character: he wants to be thought of as a great man in his father’s eyes, like his brothers, yet he doesn’t truly care for the spotlight. He struggles with this throughout the entire film and it causes the decisions he makes to be quite contrary to one another. Ed Helms also turns in a decent performance as Ted’s cousin, Joe Gargan. He is always there to help Ted since he feels he’s the only “brother” he has left. He is shown to have one of the strongest moral compasses in the film since he just wants Ted to tell the truth. While he does believe the “accident” was indeed an accident, he is not comfortable with the events that followed. The audience can also tell that he blames himself since he waited for his cousin to do the right thing instead of doing the right thing himself. The supporting characters give good performances and help build up the main characters more. Since the film is based on true events but the complete truth is not known, the writers had to embellish some. There are many theories surrounding the crash and Kennedy’s relationship with Kopechne that are not explored in the film. Even though the events took place in the past, the viewers can relate to some of the manipulations in our judicial system today. While the story is interesting there isn’t much to it, so the film does move at a snail’s pace. There are also a few characters who could have been more developed so that the audience could have empathized with them better. I give Chappaquiddick a Normal 6/10. Another example of a film being a nice history lesson that doesn’t extend far beyond that.


  1. When you say “There are also a few characters who could have been more developed so that the audience could have empathized with them better.” what exactly do you mean?

Leave a Reply