27 May 2018

"I Can Only Imagine" "Chappaquiddick"

Over the past two weeks we saw two films in theaters: "I Can Only Imagine," the story of Bart Millard, MercyMe, and the eponymous hit CCM song and "Chappaquiddick," a realistic retelling of the weekend in July, 1969 that saw the end of the life of Mary Jo Kopechne and Ted Kennedy's presidential hopes.

I can recommend both. "I Can Only Imagine" avoids the moralizing of some Christian-themed movies (here). The life of young Bart Millard and his abusive father Arthur (played by Dennis Quaid) is clearly indicated without overindulging visual presentation. And, while some might dislike any film with a satisfying ending, "I Can Only Imagine" did not cross the line into sentimentalism.

"Chappaquiddick" most certainly did not have a happy ending. A dark movie, in my wife's three-word summary. Especially by sticking close to the facts as subsequently established and presenting the character of Ted Kennedy with a plausible modicum--but only that, a modicum--of sympathy, "Chappaquiddick" dispels any lingering myth of Kennedy-clan moral superiority. It also shows how, at one time anyway, someone with access to enormous power and an enormously powerful retinue of family loyalists, could create "the narrative" that would dominate public understanding of events.

Neither film is a breakout box office success so I can encourage readers to track them down before they retire to the world of streaming.

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