Kate Plays Christine
Directed by Robert Greene
Follow actress Kate Lyn Sheil as she prepares for her next role: playing Christine Chubbuck, a Florida newscaster who committed suicide live on-air in 1974. As Kate investigates Chubbuck’s story, uncovering new clues and information, she becomes increasingly obsessed with her subject.
See more films
★★★★ review by davidehrlich on Letterboxd
[sheepishly looks back at Letterboxd review of CHRISTINE]
★★★½ review by Lucy on Letterboxd
the stress that those last 5 minutes caused me is going to do serious damage to my body in the long run
★★★½ review by Mike D'Angelo on Letterboxd
Can't say anything concrete about this until the premiere, but the reviews coming out of Sundance are gonna be very interesting. Imagine if "Southern Man" and "Sweet Home Alabama" had both first appeared on the same compilation album.
POST-PREMIERE: As I noted on Twitter from Sundance, this film and Antonio Campos' Christine inform each other so beautifully that I feel like a masterpiece could have been achieved had the two approaches been combined conceptually from the outset. As it stands, where Christine won me over in its last few minutes, Kate's bluntly didactic final scene sours what had previously been a thoroughly absorbing portrait of an actor's research process, with ethical concerns that were readily apparent but held mostly in check. Going all Funny Games at the end was unnecessary, and while I guess one could argue that it (like virtually everything else in the film) is performative, and thus not necessarily to be accepted at face value, there's a point at which that worldview becomes a black hole. As an actual documentary, though, I really dug this.
★★★½ review by willa on Letterboxd
that wig that fell off in the ocean? it was mine while watching this
★★★★½ review by Jacob on Letterboxd
"I'm trying to get as close to it as I can."
What a concept. I'm still not entirely sure what this was, but it was engrossing. I ended up having to watch this in two sittings, due to plans I had made previously, but during that several hour hiatus, I couldn't stop thinking about this movie. It feels reductive to call this an experiment when the results were essentially known by all parties from the start. Kate Lyn Sheil and Robert Greene both knew that there was never going to be a completed narrative. Kate was tasked with playing the role of Christine Chubbuck and it was her preparation for that role that was the focus of the film. Some have said that Kate's research was all pointless, as her acting wouldn't really amount to anything, but she nevertheless had to play Christine. Even though we only see her play Christine in these small moments, these recreations, she was still responsible for doing justice to the woman herself. Kate played Christine, but the real fascination lays in how she was able to do it and how she wasn't.
Kate Plays Christine is one of the most fascinating documentaries I've ever seen. Reminiscent of the works of Kiarostami and Makhmalbaf, Greene deconstructs the conventional narrative in favor of presenting a fascinating look at the craft of acting and what it means to truly immerse yourself in a role. We learn so much about Christine Chubbuck here, but the focus is placed more on the reactions to her. Why is she so interesting when she, quite frankly, lived an unremarkable life? Where does this morbid fascination with her death come from? Where do we draw the line between respectful depictions and exploitation? Confusing as it is captivating, I'm going to be thinking about this one for a while. Acting is a profound craft.
(I just noticed that every actor is credited as themselves but Kate is credited for the role of Christine. Fascinating.)
- See all reviews