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.
The car, a late model Oldsmobile with a curb height overall of about 4 feet, was lying on its crushed-in top and the wheels were out of water at low tide. High tide at Edgartown that night came at 3:54 A.M., and its rise and fall is only 2 feet. The accident, if it occurred around 11:30 P.M., came at about two hours after low tide, and therefore there could not have been much more than 4 feet of water, and perhaps less, at the point where the car lay. The bottom is presumably sandy, since the entire island is made of sand. Senator Kennedy gave credit to Messrs. Markham and Gargan for having "dived" at "risk to their lives" in an attempt to reach Miss Kopechne. It would be more appropriate to refer to wading and stooping. See more »
The movie depicts the moon being full on the night of Kennedy's crash; in reality, the moon was full July 29, which meant that it would have been a waxing crescent on the night July 18. See more »
Joey you have flaws. We all do, you said so yourself. Moses had a temper. Peter betrayed Jesus. I have Chappaquiddick.
Yeah. Moses had a temper. But he never left a girl at the bottom of the Red Sea.
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The movie is well made, moves a little slowly but is compelling due to it's subject. The actors do a superb job. Even Ed Helms and Jim Gaffigan manage to make you forget who they are.
Kennedy and his handlers do not come off well, of course. It's a not a documentary and I do not trust Hollywood or the media to portray anyone historical character completely accurately.
For me, there are 2 take aways from the movie:
1. This was a sincere young lady whose life was cut much too short. It was difficult for me to watch her on screen knowing what was about to happen to her. She deserved better. Sadly, she is a footnote in history. We should refer to it as the Mary Jo Kopechne scandal, not Chappaquidick.
2. The end of the film featured "person on the street" interviews from 1969. It was amazing to listen to the ones who dismissed his short-comings and continued to support him. Seeing those interviews in the Trump era makes for an interesting perspective. Ted Kennedy, Bill Clinton or Donald Trump, the American voter on both sides of the aisle will look past a man's sins if they think that person will advance their political agenda. The opposite is also true: People will mercilessly and unflinchingly condemn a person for his shortcomings if they don't agree politically. This was true during the 2016 election cycle. It was never about Hillary or Trump's demons, it was always politics. Until that is understood, people will never get why Trump has support.
The biggest unanswered question for me is: how did Kennedy get out of the car. If the doors were jammed shut and the windows unbroken, which kept anyone from getting Mary Jo out of the car, then how did he get out?
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