6.5/10
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116 user 102 critic

Chappaquiddick (2017)

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Depicting Ted Kennedy's involvement in the fatal 1969 car accident that claims the life of a young campaign strategist, Mary Jo Kopechne.

Director:

John Curran
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Popularity
230 ( 593)
2 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jason Clarke ... Ted Kennedy
Kate Mara ... Mary Jo Kopechne
Ed Helms ... Joseph Gargan
Bruce Dern ... Joseph Kennedy
Jim Gaffigan ... Paul Markham
Olivia Thirlby ... Rachel
Clancy Brown ... Robert McNamara
Taylor Nichols ... Ted Sorensen
John Fiore ... Chief Arena
Gillian Mariner Gordon ... Cricket (as Gillian Gordon)
Katie Henoch ... Suzy (as Kate Henoch)
Lexie Roth ... Nance
Angela Hope Smith ... Maryellen
Vince Tycer ... David Burke
Victor Warren ... Stephen Smith
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Storyline

The scandal and mysterious events surrounding the tragic drowning of a young woman, as Ted Kennedy drove his car off the infamous bridge, are revealed in the new movie starring Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy and Kate Mara as Mary Jo Kopechne. Not only did this event take the life of an aspiring political strategist and Kennedy insider, but it ultimately changed the course of presidential history forever. Through true accounts, documented in the inquest from the investigation in 1969, director John Curran and writers Andrew Logan and Taylor Allen, intimately expose the broad reach of political power, the influence of America's most celebrated family; and the vulnerability of Ted Kennedy, the youngest son, in the shadow of his family legacy.

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Taglines:

The Untold True Story


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for thematic material, disturbing images, some strong language, and historical smoking | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA | Sweden

Language:

English

Release Date:

6 April 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Chappaquiddick See more »

Filming Locations:

Ipswich, Massachusetts, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$5,765,854, 8 April 2018, Wide Release

Gross USA:

$17,395,520, 1 August 2018

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$17,986,043, 29 July 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

When Ted is being chastised by his lawyers for his actions, they refer to his actions as "John Wayne stuff." Bruce Dern, who plays Joseph Kennedy, Sr. in this film, had previously appeared with Wayne in the film The Cowboys, killing his character. It was one of Wayne's few on-screen deaths. See more »

Goofs

Although Bruce Dern makes a powerful (albeit mostly mute) appearance in the film in the role of Joseph Kennedy Sr., Ted's mother Rose is not depicted at all. What a strange decision to utterly omit her in the interest of tight storytelling, given the significant presence she surely must have been during those days. See more »

Quotes

Joseph Kennedy: You'll never be great.
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Soundtracks

Alibi-Bach-Prelude in E Minor
Written by Johann Sebastian Bach
Arranged by Charles Roland Berry
Performed by Martin Lücker
Courtesy of ALIBI Music
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User Reviews

 
The Rise and Fall of a Nation (Circa 1969)
7 April 2018 | by jadepietroSee all my reviews

GRADE: B+

THIS FILM IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

IN BRIEF: An riveting factual retelling of a political scandal and cover-up that changed the life of one man and a nation. JIM'S REVIEW: One man remained above the law. One nation watched in shock and disbelief as the event unfolded. One woman dead. Such is the scandal and cover-up of Senator Edward "Teddy" Kennedy and his ill-fated accident that changed his life and took the life of campaign worker, Mary Jo Kopechine. Chappaquiddick, John Curran's fine retelling of true events shows those days in 1969 when the young inebriated senator made that dire mistake, driving off a bridge and leaving a friend to slowly drown in a slightly submerged car. His decision lacked courage and integrity which cost him a political future to become America's once and future president. But our nation does love the rise and fall of the rich and famous...and their ultimate comeback.

Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan create a timeline that shows the unscrupulous damage control crafted by powerful men to protect their own, with little regard for the true victim. The script focuses on six days, from the fatal crash to the senator's televised plea to a country to forgive him his trespasses, ending in actual footage from real people who commented most positively on his "forced" confession. To the film's credit, it does not shy away from Kennedy's caddish behavior, the numerous illegal acts, and exposes the "spin" (which is ever prevalent today, while being a rarity back then). Their narrative could use more backstory to give more substance to the possible relationship of the politician and his victim. It only hints at that aspect and is a tad unjust to Ms. Kopechine's character by making her an incomplete pawn rather than a fully dimensional character. Kate Mara plays her very well and one wishes more screen time was spent in flashbacks about her character and motives.

However, the majority of the film is a showcase for Jason Clarke as Ted Kennedy. It is an excellent performance of a troubled and desperate man at terms with his own weaknesses. Mr. Clarke is a forceful presence and fully captures the Massachusetts senator's persona. (It is deserving of an Oscar nomination, although it will surely be forgotten due to the film's early release.) Also giving excellent support are Ed Helms as his close ally and conscience, Joe Gargan, Clancy Brown as Robert MacNamara, Taylor Nichols as Ted Sorensen, and Bruce Dern as the cruel patriarch, Joseph Kennedy. (The scene between father and son is brutal to watch, and Mr. Dern conveys his disappointment and personal disgust with barely a word as Mr. Clarke searches for any ounce of compassion and tenderness.) Rounding out the strong ensemble are Jim Gaffigan and Olivia Thirlby.

Mr. Curran directs with a solid vision and effectively jumps back to the incident to remind his audience of the tragedy of a human life cut short countering with the political mechanisms of a political life saved at all cost. That Senator Kennedy went on to continue a healthy career and eluded any jail time, never being convicted of manslaughter seems an odd turn of events in this enthralling and disturbing drama. But truth is stranger than fiction and Chappaquiddick is an honest depiction of dishonest times. It is a movie definitely worth viewing.


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