Chappaquiddick

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Apex Entertainment, Teaser Poster (detail)

Many expected Chappaquiddick to be right-wing propaganda. After all, why make a feature-length film about what happened that 1969 night when Sen. Edward Kennedy (D–Mass.) drove a car off a bridge, resulting in the death of passenger Mary Jo Kopechne, if not to score political points?

But Chappaquiddick tells a story that's not about policy, left or right, but about glamour and the often brutal assertion of privilege and power. A Kennedy fan might complain that by avoiding discussion of his politics, the movie misses the tragedy for the country embedded in the tale, since Kennedy would have made such an awesomely liberal president, whatever his personal character. The filmmakers instead saw a corrupt man in a corrupt situation surrounded by a (mostly) corrupt retinue sacrificing a young woman to his ambitions. Kennedy's stance on, say, Medicaid expansion isn't relevant.

NEXT: When the Supreme Court Blessed the Imperial Presidency

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  1. The hagiography surrounding that clan of bog-Irish rent-seekers never ceases to befuddle me. Father Joe was a revolting human stain. Together with his horrifying wife, rose, he had one of his own daughters lobotomized. Pity he didn’t do the same to his sons. John was a mediocre President at best, whose best career move may well have been dying in office. Robert tends to be a psychic mirror; reflecting whatever the viewer projects against it. And Teddy? Teddy was a Liberal Progressive Establishment Boor, One Each. The death of poor Mary-Jo did not end his career; it set the tone for it.

  2. ‘America’s royalty’ my fat ass.

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