“Chappaquiddick” (Entertainment Studios)

Andria Blackman and Jason Clarke star in a scene from the movie "Chappaquiddick." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Entertainment Studios)

By Catholic News Service

Somber but intriguing fact-based drama about the infamous 1969 car accident on the New England island of the title involving Sen. Edward M. (Ted) Kennedy (Jason Clarke) and Mary Jo Kopechne (Kate Mara), a former staffer for Kennedy’s assassinated brother Robert, who died in the mishap.

The legislator’s bizarrely irresponsible behavior in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy is portrayed rather than explained by screenwriters Andrew Logan and Taylor Allen and director John Curran. But Clarke conveys with a quiet intensity the conflicted emotions and sense of isolation his character may have been experiencing as well as the toll his torturous relationship with his impossible-to-satisfy father, Joseph (Bruce Dern), may have exacted on him.

Kennedy cousin and family fixer Joe Gargan (Ed Helms) provides the film’s moral compass while former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara (Clancy Brown) wears the black hat, leading a troupe of spin doctors who encourage Teddy to play fast and loose with the facts.

Mature themes, a few profanities, about a half-dozen milder oaths, a couple of rough and several crude terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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