Jul 192018

Chappaquiddick is an imperfect drama that probably tells the story of Ted Kennedy and the car crash that killed a young woman as best as they could with the information known. The direction itself though wasn’t anything noteworthy but this is probably worth a rental.




Genre(s): Drama
Lionsgate | PG13 – 106 min. – $39.99 | July 10, 2018

Date Published: 07/19/2018 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: John Curran
Writer(s): Taylor Allen & Andrew Logan (written by)
Cast: Jason Clarke, Kate Mara, Ed Helms, Bruce Dern, Jim Gaffigan, Olivia Thirlby, Clancy Brown
Features: Featurettes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray, DVD
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.39
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: NA
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Lionsgate provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3.5/5

There’s probably no more storied or tragic family than the Kennedys, two slain by assassins in John and Bobby, another slain by his own, in my opinion, drunken, callous and stupidity with the subject of Chappaquiddick, Ted Kennedy, whose recklessness arguably cost him a shot at the presidency.

July 1969, a year following brother Bobby’s assassination, Ted Kennedy (JASON CLARKE), members of the “Boiler Room Girls” (young women who worked on Bobby’s presidential campaign) gather at the summer home in Chappaquiddick for a party. When Ted and staff worker Mary Jo Kopechne (KATE MARA) go out for a drive — based on the movie (and other published accounts) the two only talked — when Kennedy took a sharp turn, driving off a bridge into the river; he manages to escape but is unable to rescue Mary Jo.

What follows is the crux of the controversy as Kennedy left the scene, gathered help from two of his closest friends, cousin Joseph Gargan (ED HELMS) whom Kennedy considers like a brother and Paul Markham (JIM GAFFIGAN), and despite being advised to report the incident, instead made his way from the island, check into a hotel, clean up and got a night’s rest, before ultimately going to the local sheriff. By that point, however, the car and Mary Jo’s body had already been discovered.

The movie does examine the cover-up, initially by Kennedy himself before deciding he wanted to come clean, but later through a bunch of advisers and fixers working for his father, the legendary Joseph Kennedy (BRUCE DERN), who might’ve been ill but not enough to show his disappointment in his son.

On the technical front, Chappaquiddick is rather uninspiring. The direction from John Curran (We Don’t Live Here Anymore) or script written by Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan (both making their debuts, the former worked as an animation editor on The Simpsons) were pretty basic, nothing on either front that stood out. It would seem they tried to balance out Ted Kennedy as both an uncaring scoundrel in one instance, but in the next compassionate before going down the d-bag route as he attempted to portray himself as a victim. Based on what I can tell, nobody knows what happened except for two people, and even then if Kennedy was drunk he might not have known 100% what happened, not that it matters since he died several years ago.

Where the film does succeed and certainly makes more than watchable was the as close to charismatic performance as possible for Kennedy by Jason Clarke. I’m glad they didn’t overdo (or at all) with prosthetics as it would’ve been too distracting, and at least looked a little like Kennedy at that age, enough anyway to make it believable, and Clarke for his part didn’t lay it on thick with the Massachusetts accent.

The supporting cast purport themselves well. Ed Helms takes a dramatic turn as a man who becomes more and more disillusioned with Ted Kennedy (to the point, the real life Gargan became estranged from the Kennedy family) and similarly Jim Gaffigan has a few moments and although her role was limited, Kate Mara did make an impact as the true victim and I actually kind of wish there’d be a movie about Mary Jo’s life with Mara in that role.

Chappaquiddick could’ve been better but considering what is not known about the incident, I guess this is the best the filmmakers could do, though the direction itself was rather incidental and there’s not a whole lot that stands out. That being said, this is still at the very least worthy of a rental.



This release comes with a slip cover and inside a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

A Reckoning: Revisiting Chappaquiddick (25:19; HD) looks at the true events that inspired the movie and how the filmmakers approached it. Features on-set interviews with members of the cast and crew talking about the plot and characters.

Bridge to the Past: Editing the Film (12:45; HD) focuses on how editor Keith Fraase went about working on the film.

TrailersThe Hurricane Heist, Winchester


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Lionsgate releases Chappaquiddick comes to Blu-ray presented in its original 2.39 widescreen aspect ratio and 1080p high-definition transfer. The picture is fairly bright and detail is sharp throughout, and looks clean as most new releases should.

AUDIO – 4.0/5

The included DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is basic but effective. The majority of the film is strictly dialogue driven outside of the car crash which does show off a bit of depth but everything else was more or less centrally located with modest usage of the front and rear channels for ambient noises and the music and/or score.


OVERALL – 3.75/5

Overall, Chappaquiddick is an imperfect drama that probably tells the story of Ted Kennedy and the car crash that killed a young woman as best as they could with the information known. The direction itself though wasn’t anything noteworthy but this is probably worth a rental. The Blu-ray release offers good video/audio transfers and so-so special features.




Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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