Chappaquiddick (2018)


Critic Consensus: Chappaquidick can't help leaving some of this true story's most intriguing questions unanswered, but it's bolstered by outstanding work from Jason Clarke in the central role.


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In the riveting suspense drama, CHAPPAQUIDDICK, 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.

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Jason Clarke
as Sen. Ted Kennedy
Kate Mara
as Mary Jo Kopechne
Ed Helms
as Joe Gargan
Bruce Dern
as Joe Kennedy Sr.
Jim Gaffigan
as Paul Markham
Clancy Brown
as Robert McNamara
Olivia Thirlby
as Rachel Schiff
Andria Blackman
as Joan Kennedy
Taylor Nichols
as Ted Sorensen
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Critic Reviews for Chappaquiddick

All Critics (131) | Top Critics (32)

In the end Chappaquiddick will have to pass the same test as Kennedy's original version of the story-whether or not anyone will buy it.

Apr 19, 2018 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Clarke makes us feel plenty of things we'd rather not. His eyes are shadowed with profound decency one minute, and hollowed out in desperate calculation the next.

Apr 12, 2018 | Full Review…

If you're looking for something to make you feel good about chubby, cherubic Ted, the venerable lion of the Senate, this is not your movie.

Apr 10, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A film of integrity and disclosure, a controversial chapter in American history that substitutes clinical accuracy for Hollywood embellishment, with an impressive attention to detail and an admirable respect for suspenseful narrative.

Apr 10, 2018 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…
Top Critic

The sketches of Kennedy-family tensions and loyalties are thin and simplistic; the action rushes by with little insight or context.

Apr 9, 2018 | Full Review…

Chappaquiddick is heavy-handed history, a film that at times seems to owe as much to The X-Files as the many cinematic dives into the target-rich territory that is the Kennedy clan.

Apr 6, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Chappaquiddick


The moon looms in so many of the shots here just as it did in the news cycle during that 1969 July when Senator Edward Kennedy drove off a bridge, killing his passenger. His first words after the accident are: "I'm not going to be president." How Chappaquiddick might hold up against history is uncertain, but director John Curran (The Painted Veil) swiftly clarifies what he and the writers believe to be the answers to questions that have no doubt plagued the incident since that fateful night. How did Kennedy end up driving off the bridge? Was he drunk? What were he and Mary Jo Kopechne doing together that night? Was there a third person in the car? Why did he wait so long to report the accident? There is no hesitation to paint Kennedy into an unflattering corner with Ed Helms as conflicted Kennedy cousin Joseph Gargan being a highlight. Gargan's struggles and position within his famous family are what illustrate what it seems Chappaquiddick is truly trying to get at; that the Kennedy's never held themselves to the same laws as those they felt they were meant to serve. That somehow, because they lived a life of service they were exempt from the same standards. It's an interesting if not obvious thesis, but I wish it was explored in a deeper and more moving manner as Curran's film feels very much like a CliffsNotes version of a much bigger story.

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

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