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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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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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

While the portrayed events take place in July, the background foliage is not the lush green of mid-summer. Rather, it's fading very slightly toward yellow, betraying the movie's having been shot towards the beginning of Fall. See more »

Goofs

The car Ted Kennedy was driving at Chappaquiddick was a 4 door sedan with center pillars behind the front doors. The car in the movie is a 4 door pillarless hardtop. . See more »

Quotes

Joseph Kennedy: You'll never be great.
See more »


Soundtracks

The Plains
Written & Performed by Garth Stevenson
Courtesy of Garth Stevenson Music
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User Reviews

 
Left for dead by Ed
20 July 2018 | by jc-osmsSee all my reviews

This retelling of the death of young Kennedy entourage "Boiler Room" secretary Mary Jo Kopechne and the involvement therein (or lack of same, arguably) of rising US senator and last surviving brother of the Kennedy family dynasty, Edward Kennedy, holds back little as it nails its accusatory colours to the mast.

I re-read as much background as I could on the tragic incident and it's difficult not to come to the same conclusion as the writer and director of this movie, that Kennedy firstly failed to attempt to rescue the stricken girl immediately after he escaped the sinking car, then got two of his slavishly obedient underlings to repeatedly dive into the river to try to save the girl, didn't report the matter immediately to the authorities where we learn that if he had, Mary Jo might even have made it out alive, before most shamefully of all, he played down and indeed lied about his role in the matter to go along with the abhorrent advice of the supporting Kennedy machine, a phalanx of important Democrats, including former Secretary of State Robert MacNamara, to cover up his part and so keep alive his future eligibility for the presidency.

As usual in dramatisations of real life happenings, some dramatic licence appears to be taken with events. For example was Ted Kennedy really so scared of his elderly, paralysed father, the family patriarch Joseph (played by an unrecognisable Bruce Dern) and so ashamed of himself as the underperforming last son of the family to justify acting in this deplorable spineless way? Then, was there anything sexual between Kennedy and Kopechne on the night - there are cryptic but inconclusive flashbacks shown hinting at something and Kennedy, whose wife hadn't made the trip, was a known womaniser. Did he really contemplate resigning the Senate right up to the last minute before caving into the surrounding peer pressure and instead turn his live TV broadcast into the contemptible self-serving speech it turned out to be, including his horrendous assertion that this was the infamous "Kennedy Curse" working on him - this just in Senator Kennedy, you didn't die, Miss Kopechne did - and in so saying, trying to bathe in the reflected glory of his two slain brothers? I also thought it was a major mistake to fail to mention the substantial payment that was made to the dead girl's parents, presumably to hush them up.

Only one person knows what happened on that fateful night and I concur with the film-makers' assertion here that Kennedy not only acted in a selfish, cowardly way at the scene - he even tried to weasel out of this by faking a medical report that he was concussed in the crash which affected his actions and then compounded the felony by "wearing" a neck brace for effect at the funeral.

This as I said is a brave film, justifiably, I believe, taking a side and having the courage of its convictions to stick to it. Jason Clarke is excellent as Kennedy while the rest of the lesser known cast give him credible support. The direction could have done with less of the voguish drone shots which seemed at odds with the realistic approach adopted elsewhere plus I found the soundtrack dull and again lacking affinity with the era portrayed.

I doubt this film will gain wide distribution but hope it does. It's an excellent drama, the tragedy of which is how realistically it depicted a tragically avoidable real life accident.


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