The 15 Best Movies of 2016

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Image courtesy of The Orchard

5. Christine

Antonio Campos’ look inside the mind of suicidal anchorwoman Christine Chubbuck burrows under your skin and doesn’t go away. I say that because since watching and reviewing it a few months back it’s yet to leave my mind entirely. Christine Chubbuck’s on-air suicide in 1974 is said to have inspired Sidney Lumet’s Network, though that’s up for debate. Regardless, it’s a story rife for sensationalism, especially in our time of reality television. It’s remarkable how tenderly Campos and screenwriter Craig Shilowich detail Chubbuck’s life. In many ways, this isn’t the story of a woman with mental illness, but all women who have wanted things in life but have been told they aren’t asking the right way. (Christine just isn’t likable enough…things have gotten better, right?)

The film would be nothing without an awards-worthy performance from Rebecca Hall. Her enigmatic performance as Christine is haunting. Everything about her performance is unique, from her sloping, hunched walk to her vocal cadences. Dare I say it’s a better performance than Natalie Portman in Jackie? I just might. Campos treats the material like a play, leaving Hall to play off a litany of compelling characters, from her unspoken love (Michael C. Hall) to her best friend – as far as everyone else is concerned – whom she’s unintentionally competing with (Maria Dizzia). If you missed this upon release, it’s one of the year’s best biopics.

Next: The Edge of Seventeen