I don’t usually talk about movies in this space but I wanted to share with you about a movie I saw last night that has had a profound effect on my thinking. That movie is Chappaquiddick, the story of five days in the life of Senator Ted Kennedy.
Kennedy and a group of older, married men had a party with some young women at a cabin in Massachusetts. They claim everything was very platonic, and I am not looking for a lawsuit, but you do the math. Kennedy got in his car and went for a drive with a gal named Mary Jo, they had a car accident, and she suffocated while Kennedy equivocated on how to save his political career (but not her life).
The rest of the movie dealt with how Kennedy had several opportunities to do the right thing and show integrity but how, each time, he backed down and did what was best for Ted Kennedy.
It really got me thinking about how some adulterous folks do the same thing with regard to their innocent bystander spouses. The guilty parties try to heap blame on their spouses, arguing that the spouse is at fault for their waywardness, much like Kennedy tried to say (at first) that Mary Jo had been driving, so that her death was her own fault. That may play well in Massachusetts (Kennedy was re-elected how many times after the accident?) but maybe not so well in your hometown.
Kennedy claimed he dove down numerous times to try and save her, much like an adulterous spouse might say that he or she tried to save the marriage (think Prince Charles here, with regard to his cheating on Princess Diana. It was hard, she said, having three people in the marriage) but this his or her spouse wouldn’t play along. Newt Gingrich had trouble selling his third wife on the concept of “open marriage,” or so I heard, even as he lectured around the country on the topic of family values.
I think the character of Joan Kennedy had Ted’s true personality pin-pointed with her comment to him as they drove from the funeral, but I won’t spoil the movie for you by telling you what she said.
What do you think, either about this topic or the movie? I would love to know your thoughts. BTW, yes, the movie is worth seeing.