Skip to comments.“Chappaquiddick” : Mary Jo Kopechne as First Victim of Kennedy Family Money, Power and Corruption
Posted on 02/28/2018 4:27:45 AM PST by BBell
Searing Big Screen Chappaquiddick Thriller: Mary Jo Kopechne as First #MeToo Victim of Kennedy Family Money, Power and Corruption
I think John Currans masterful Chappaquiddick was shown once in Toronto for a handful of critics and distributors. Byron Allen was very smart to pick it up for his new Entertainment Company studioits going to be a big hit. What he could never have predicted back in September that by now the movie would have a whole new layer of meaning: Mary Jo Kopechne, left to drown in the waters of Marthas Vineyard in July 1969, was the first #MeToo victim. Her death, suggested here as caused by the late Senator Edward Kennedy, is the paradigm for everything being discussed today.
Curran has made a couple of movies I really liked Tracks with Mia Wasikowska and Adam Driver, and We Dont Live Here Anymore with Mark Ruffalo and Marisa Tomei. Hes Australian and almost 60, so his sensibility is outsider and his interests would be the Kennedys and how power corrupts. The Australian part is lucky because hes brought Jason Clarke along as Ted Kennedy, and its a powerful performance that should put him on early awards lists. Clarke was borbn to play Teddy as it turns out.
Chappaquiddick refers to a scandal that in hindsight is stunning that it didnt end Kennedys political career or put him in jail. Lets say youre a fan of Kennedy for everything but this episode. Still, on a boozy summer night the same weekend that Neil Armstrong walked on the moona married but philandering Teddy drove his car off the Chappaquiddick bridge with Mary Jo Kopechne (astute performance by Kate Mara, shes excellent), a young secretary whod worked for his late brother Bobby, at his side.
Were they screwing, or just driving around, drinking, having a grand time? No one knows. But the car went into the water and turned upside down. Teddy escaped and did not try to save Mary Jo. He return to the party house where he and friends had been whooping it up, found two of his sycophants (Ed Helms and Jim Gaffigan), brought them back to the scene of the accident. By then, Mary Jo had certainly died.
They never reported the accident. Instead, they created massive cover up that presaged Watergate. The car and Mary Jo were discovered the next morning by passersby. Curran peels the cover up like an orange, and its beautiful to watch. Clarke portrays Teddy so ambiguously you almost cant tell if hes calculating, stupid, just a lost man child. The result is you cant take your eyes off of him. Teddys scenes with his father Joe Kennedy after a stroke, wheelchair bound, wordless perfection from Bruce Dernare riveting.
The Kennedys will not be happy. They may try to kill this film. (In 40 years no one has even tried to tell this story accurately.) Allen will have to present quite a PR front and solid distribution. This isnt a tabloid story. Curran is damn serious. If Mary Jo as #MeToo victim takes off, the movie will click. This really happened. Ted Kennedyusing his brothers assassinations for sympathyconvinced the world that he just didnt know what happened to this beautiful, smart young woman. Chappaquiddick is quite stunning.
Release date is April 6th. More to come, oh yes, when we get closer
Kinda glossing over Maralyn Monroe aren’t we?
I always found the now-defunct site ytedk.com useful. Fortunately the Wayback Machine has it.
I was thinking that too.
Goodbye Norma Jean . . .
I doubt if she is the first, and we know she wasn’t the last.
“Kinda glossing over Maralyn Monroe arent we?”
Not to speak of what Ted’s dad had done to Ted’s sister, Rosemary.
My aunt was her nurse while they were staying in Palm Beach estate. Round the clock.
This movie should have come out 30 years ago.
What about Rosemarie Kennedy? Old Joe Kennedy had her lobotomized and shut up in a mental institution in Jefferson, Wisconsin, with minimal contact from her family.
Not many people remember her. I think that was the idea.
Diamond Joe Kennedy was a notorious bootlegger. Dont assume Mary Jo was the first victim
Actually, I think Rosemary Kennedy was, when her parents put her through a frontal lobotomy. I've often wondered if she needed "shutting up," as it were..
First? What about Marilyn Monroe?
I have a sneaking suspicion she was not the first Kennedy family victim.
I very much doubt that Kennedy was in that car when it went into the water.
I had never heard about him even getting this little bit of help. Since Mary Jo suffocated in the air gap rather than drowning she might have still been alive even then depending on how much time this took.
Good point. Rosemary was truly a sad case.
The women left dead or abused by the Kennedys make up a pretty long list. Of course we have Marilyn Monroe. And there was Robert Kennedy Jr's wife Mary Richardson. And Ted Kennedy's poor wife Virginia Joan Bennett who was left a broken alcoholic.
Really, the list is long, long, long of girlfriends and wives who have been dumped or abused after being used up by the Kennedys.
Jason Clarke is the most riveting actor in the realm today. Very creepy when the script requires it, yet totally watchable. Looking forward to this movie coming out. The Kennedys have skated on so many crimes,and now Ted is dead anyway. I always felt sorry for Joan Kennedy. Humiliated so many times, I figured that is what compelled her toward alcoholism. She was a Carnegie Hall grade pianist and a beautiful debutante. He destroyed her. I wonder if this movie will get many awards....or is the Kennedy name still powerful enough to shuffle the movie off to Buffalo, never to see much of the light of day.
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