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A Movie Review… The Tragedy Of Chappaquiddick

April 19, 2018 Frontpage No Comments

By REY FLORES

“We tell the truth, or at least our version of it” — Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, July 1969.
These words explain everything about what money, power, and influence can do in the swamp of establishment American politics. These are the words Kennedy shared with the damage control team put together by his father, Joe P. Kennedy Sr. All done to cover up the tragic death of an innocent young woman at the hands of the senator, and an attempt to maintain the sterling Kennedy name untarnished — or so they thought.
In American politics, there have been few families who have had the cultural impact of the Kennedys. While most Americans with a basic knowledge of U.S. political history know about family patriarch Joseph Patrick Kennedy Sr., the family’s political involvement goes back to their roots in Ireland in the earlier half of the 1800s.
Sen. Ted Kennedy was the fourth longest-serving senator in U.S. history. Ted survived through a storied and tragic family history. His older brother Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. — the first son that Joe Sr. wanted to be the first Kennedy president — was a Navy lieutenant killed in action during World War II.
Ted’s brother John F. Kennedy did fulfill Joe Sr.’s wishes years later, serving as president of the United States from 1961 through 1963. His presidency was abruptly ended in November of 1963 in Dallas by an assassin.
A few years later in 1968, Teddy Kennedy and his family suffered through yet another tragic and violent loss. His other brother, Sen. Bobby Kennedy, was also taken out by an assassin’s bullet.
Tragedy plagued the Kennedy clan as recently as 1999 when John Kennedy Jr. was killed in a plane crash along with his wife.
In Chappaquiddick, we are finally told the inside story of how this became one of the most fantastic coverups in modern American politics. It has been nearly fifty years since this incident occurred. I believe many Americans are more than ready to hear what may really have happened that night.
Here’s a little background for younger Wanderer readers who may not be familiar with this story.
After a small party thrown in July of 1969 in the town of Edgartown, Mass., near Chappaquiddick Island, then-Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy got himself in a heap of trouble.
Sometime during said party, Kennedy got behind the wheel while intoxicated and ended up running his car into Lake Chappaquiddick. Kennedy survived, but his passenger, a young, beautiful, and talented 28-year-old political secretary and campaign specialist, did not.
Mary Jo Kopechne died that night because of the late senator’s negligence. Not only did Kennedy drive drunk that night, but as happens with many drunks, one poor decision led to another. Instead of making every attempt possible to save Kopechne from the submerged car, Kennedy freed himself, and walked away from the scene of the accident.
He eventually did admit in court to leaving the scene of the accident and was sentenced to only two months of incarceration, but because of the powerful political influence of the Kennedys, he got a slap on the wrist with a suspended jail sentence, and only served a very brief stint of probation.
Kennedy went on to thrive for decades as the “Lion of the Senate,” as many leftist Democrats liked to refer to him.
While some of the fake news media have already criticized this film as a “character assassination” of the late Ted Kennedy, I certainly did not get that out of viewing the film. If anything, I almost felt sorry for Kennedy because of his cowardice, and his trying to live up to his tyrannical father’s wishes, not to mention living in the shadows of his older, more politically successful brothers.
When Ted Kennedy called his father shortly after the incident to tell him what had just happened, the one word Joe Kennedy Sr. repeated to his son was “alibi.” That in itself explains everything about why Kennedy literally got away with murder.
I cannot recall who said something like “there is no worse whipping a man can take than that of his own guilt,” but in this portrayal, Kennedy appears to have little to no remorse about what had just happened. I’m sure Ted Kennedy was a tortured soul — many of us are. But the lack of conscience and compassion and the just plain selfishness shown by Kennedy that night have no excuse.
Chappaquiddick is a powerful film that I think deserves an Academy Award. It’s that good.
The cinematography and historical details were fantastic. I do, however, laugh every time I hear the movie’s silly politically correct promotional ads that refer to “historical smoking,” because there are plenty of scenes showing people smoking cigarettes.
Actor Jason Clarke’s portrayal of Ted Kennedy was incredible. It was almost like watching the real Kennedy in his younger years. It is a high-caliber performance to the point of being uncanny.
Though only appearing in the first major part of the film, and a few flashback scenes, actress Kate Mara played the young Kopechne with style. I was especially moved in the one scene where she is gasping for air in the submerged car praying an Our Father.
Like the Kennedys, Kopechne was a Catholic. Now what “kind” of Catholic Kennedy was is up for debate.
While the Lord’s Prayer isn’t exclusive to Catholicism, there are other Catholic-specific “moments” in the film, including the funeral Mass for Mary Jo Kopechne in a traditional old church with the beautiful Ave Maria being sung by a choir soloist.
In a scene set in her parents’ home, look for a portrait of Pope Paul VI in a hallway.
The film is rated PG-13 because of some minimal profanity. Otherwise, I think the film respectfully told the story without resorting to any gratuitous sexuality, vivid graphic details of Kopechne’s death, or specifically scandalizing the late Sen. Kennedy. The film is now showing in theatres nationwide.
To watch the trailer and to purchase tickets, visit www.chappa
quiddickmovie.com.

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(Contact Rey Flores at reyfloresusa@gmail.com.)

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