Chappaquiddick (2017) – Projection

I try to steer clear of movie reviews, especially projections… but as this one comes out of my home state… and given the subject matter, I feel the need to get a few things off my chest about this movie…

Per Masslive:
“Based on a script by Andrew Loga, the film recounts the 1969 car accident, where U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy drove off a Martha’s Vineyard bridge, leaving his passenger, 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne, to drown in a pond. Kennedy left the scene of the accident, returned home and failed to report the accident for nine hours.”

Okay… so for those of you not from the area, not alive during the 1980s election, or the incident in question, let me give you a little background…

The Chappaquiddick incident was a single-vehicle car accident on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts on July 18, 1969. The incident involved U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy. His 28-year-old companion, Mary Jo Kopechne, reportedly drowned, although the testimony of a diver would indicate suffocation instead.

According to his own testimony, Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a one-lane bridge and into a tidal channel before swimming free, leaving the scene, and not reporting the accident for nine hours. Meanwhile, Kopechne had died in the car through drowning or suffocation. The next day, Kopechne’s body and the car were both recovered by divers. Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of a crash after causing injury and later received a two-month suspended jail sentence. The Chappaquiddick incident became a national scandal of the 1970s.

I should also note that it completely derailed any hopes he ever had about running for president.

Okay, I’ve seen a lot of hyperbole thrown back and forth. There’s a lot of speak about Ted Kennedy straight up murdering her, Mary Jo committing suicide, a family cover up, etc. etc. etc.

The list goes on.

What we know:
Kennedy didn’t report the incident for 9 hours.
Forensic analysts concluded that Mary Jo died of asphyxiation, not drowning and possibly could have been rescued.
Kennedy got off with a slap on the wrist.

Say what you will, but I don’t think anyone not of millionaire descent would have gotten off with a 2 month suspended sentence. Just saying. 

Before we go any further, I have to confess my own personal bias here. I was never a fan of Kennedy. I didn’t like him at all.

People say he did great things for our state… well… what? For years after he died, our infrastructure was on the verge of collapse, we’re still paying off the Big Dig, our transit system was 50 years out of date, and Cape Wind failed… which he claimed he was opposed to for enviornmental reasons… but I’m sure the fact that he had a house right next to where the windmills were supposed to be built didn’t factor in at all, right? Not to mention the fact that not long after his death, stories of our state reneging on it’s obligation to adopted children   due to lack of funding began to circulate… while we somehow had $38 million to pay for a shrine for him that his family could have easily foot the bill for.

But I don’t really want to sound TOO MUCH like a pundit, so I’m going to move on…

Lets see… what do we have for a plot?

On the eve of the moon landing, Senator Kennedy becomes entangled in a tragic car accident that results in the death of former Robert Kennedy campaign worker Mary Jo Kopechne. The senator struggles to follow his own moral compass and simultaneously protect his family’s legacy, all while simply trying to keep his own political ambitions alive.

… Kay…

Who’s directing this?

I’m getting two different names here… the first is John Curran… who’s known for… Apparently nothing I’m familiar with.

The other name… Oh God! Sam Taylor-Johnson… the guy who directed the theatrical bomb based on one of the most repulsively unreadable works of dribble ever to hit the shelves is tackling this!!??

Well based on all that, we’re going to be seeing some serious revisionist history here folks… be very afraid… Honestly this whole thing seems to meant to appease the cult-like following Ted Kennedy has that has been dismissive of the incident as a non-issue.

Okay, let’s put all of that aside and look at what we know from a ‘by the numbers’ standpoint.

“Will this movie be any good?”

Well… honestly it’s hard to say. What little info is available on it is that it’s a fairly low budget film, which isn’t saying much. Most of the best movies out there had a tight budget. The cast is recognizable at best, there is talent there, but no real household names to speak of. This wouldn’t be an issue except that I’m familiar with most of the leading cast and none of them have ever really stood out enough to justify a leading role.

The choice of director… eh… well… I only know him from 50 shades and given how much I hate the book, I wasn’t in attendance for the film, so I’ll give him… a little benefit of the doubt? Maybe?

No you won’t!

Okay, you’re probably right about that.

Will it bomb?

Low budget indie films rarely do. RARELY. I can’t see anyone taking too big a loss on this. I do however have a hard time with who the demographic is supposed to be. The people who remember this incident aren’t really the big movie-going audience, and again, based on the revisionist nature of the plot we’ve seen thus far, I don’t see very many people outside of hard left democrats and Ted Kennedy fanboys enjoying this.

Should we take it seriously?

This movie is listed as a Thiller/Drama. If we’re speaking as to whether or not it’s historically accurate? I’d say no. Again, based on the plot, this seems like more conjecture and biased opinion than actual facts of the case. Note that most of the little bit of plot we have focuses more on supposed inner struggles that Ted Kennedy may have faced.

Will you see it?

Nope. As an avid history lover, attempts at revisionist history tend to annoy me greatly. (See Animal Farm for more info)

Then why bother talking about it?

Honestly, normally I wouldn’t have, but this is about something out of my area. I live and have lived in a climate where people have tried to make this man… this ‘Liberal Lion’ a God amongst men. Heck, we’ve even seen him appear on kids TV shows… because that’s who you’d want as a role model…

Okay, okay, I’m off topic so I’m going to stop now.

Basically, I decided to tackle this one because Historical Fantasy is my bread and butter, and minus any mystical creatures, that’s pretty much what this is.


Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

You can also add me on Twitter!

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!


2 thoughts on “Chappaquiddick (2017) – Projection

  1. AlanMiller says:

    Kennedy apparently had a great sense of humor about it. Always asking if you’d heard any new Chappaquiddick jokes. Barf.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s