I am so glad that I didn’t listen to the one of the film critics who gave the new movie Chappaquiddick a “D.” As in most cases in life, we have to experience things for ourselves and then make a judgment call. So, I followed my first mind and went on to see this movie.
Most of the people in the audience looked like they were baby boomers like me and were probably there to revisit their feelings about this indelible incident. The year of 1969 was a highly sensitive time in our country after several assassinations of political figures and it was at the height of an unpopular war. So, to my recollection, emotions were already running at an all-time high on so many levels and fronts.
When this story involving Ted Kennedy emerged, many did not know what to think. This new movie, Chappaquiddick, reopens old wounds and yet it is done tastefully and handled with an air of sensitivity. He was, after all, the youngest of the famous brothers and people wanted to hear what he had to say and give him a fair shake.
The highly polished and believable cast includes Jason Clark as Ted Kennedy; Ed Helms as Cousin Joe Gargan and Bruce Dern as Patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy. We are allowed to take a walk back down memory lane hoping to get greater insight into one of the bigger political mysteries. We will never fully know what happened on that unfortunate night in July of 1969 so we can only speculate. We certainly should thank Director John Curran and writers Taylor Allen and Andrew Logan for doing a fine job of recreating a grave and dark time in our history.
What we do know is, for whatever reason, Ted Kennedy’s life was spared. He went on to live a full life – something that fate did not afford his tragic brothers. Obviously, his mission was not complete in July of 1969 and he went on to become one of the longest serving US senators in American history. He was able to push through many legislative bills.
We are all flawed in some way and though it is easy to pass judgment, it is difficult to continually stay the course and forge ahead. As someone in the movie said, “Only history will decide.” I personally think that he proved his father to be wrong. He survived the hurt, the shame and the embarrassment as he went on to accomplish many great things!
Lynn M. April 7, 2018