Tag Archives: Kennedy


7 Apr



The infamous 1969 incident that left a woman dead and stunted Ted Kennedy’s political career gets framed in sharp historical and emotional focus by director John Curran (“The Painted Veil”), who goes about the task with an unflinching eye. If it weren’t for the family pedigree and myriad associated tragedies, the film might not find much of an audience beyond those in Massachusetts and old-school Kennedy loyalists, a small niche. Given the game performances and compelling peek behind the curtains, “Chappaquiddick” should register a larger audience based on world of mouth and strength of critical reviews.

What Curran and screenwriters Andrew Logan and Taylor Allen have done smartly, much like the makers of “Jackie” and “Sully,” is to steer away from the headline event (in those cases, the assassination of JFK and the “Miracle on the Hudson”) and home in on the quiet, torturous aftermath. Sure, we see the car driven by Teddy (Jason Clarke) go off the bridge of the Martha Vineyard isle of the film’s title and the young Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara, making the most of a brief, thankless role) struggle to keep breathing as the car fills slowly with water. The film’s not innately adoring of the Kennedys, nor does it seek to bury them. It works the facts and feels meticulously researched, though you can imagine there are alternative sides to some of the more intimate and personal interactions (those between Teddy and Mary Jo in the car and Teddy and his father alone in the Hyannis Port complex). Continue reading

Last Days in Vietnam

8 Sep

published in Paste Magazine


<i>Last Days in Vietnam</i>

Beyond slavery (and Cvil Rights), the mistreatment of Native Americans and a woman’s right to vote, the Vietnam War might be the most ignominious stain on American history. Sure, the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, same-sex equality and wealth disparity might make that list, too, in time, but Vietnam—a.k.a. the living-room war—fervently consumed the American conscience for over a decade. It was something new, too. The two Great Wars had us justly battling tyranny, championing the oppressed and righting wrongs on the road to freedom. Korea was something else, something more complex, something that appeared to be in the same arena of righteous and yet, it was really a Cold War bellwether delineating the fractious ideological divide between democracy and communism. Tough lessons were learned from that war, but Vietnam, in an era of burgeoning liberalism, free love and racial integration in the wake of Ozzie and Harrietidealism—and further inflamed by the mandatory enlistment for the draft—touched off a cascade of social unrest and activism that caused the United States to reconsider its foreign policy, something that has rippled forward to the wars that confront the U.S. currently.   Continue reading