Chappaquiddick, the docudrama revisiting Senator Ted Kennedy’s misconduct following a late-night automobile accident in July 1969 that killed his 28-year-old female passenger, was released over the weekend to larger-than-expected audiences and not-bad reviews.
The film’s release also was accompanied by a bit of carping from a Kennedy apologist who characterized Chappaquiddick as a distortion, as bad history.
Such complaints are fair enough, when accurate. Plenty of American history has been distorted by the cinema.
The movie version of All the President’s Men, for example, fueled the media myth that the dogged reporting by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein exposed the crimes that brought down Richard Nixon’s presidency in 1974.
More recently, Steven Spielberg’s The Post mythologized the presumed courage of the publisher of the newspaper — the Washington Post — that trailed the New York Times in reporting on the Pentagon Papers, the government’s classified history of U.S…
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