Bruce Dern

Review: 'Chappaquiddick' examines the ripples of a scandal

Ambiguous and damning at once, John Curran's "Chappaquiddick" plunges us back into the summer of 1969: the season of Woodstock, the moon landing, the Manson murders and the lowest ebb of the Kennedy mythology.

It was six years since the assassination of John F. Kennedy and a year since Bobby was gunned down. But the Kennedy machine churned on. Jack Kennedy's ambition to reach the moon was being realized by Neil Armstrong. Edward M. ("Teddy") Kennedy, already seven years a senator having filled his brother's Massachusetts seat, was Joseph Kennedy's only living son left and a likely future president.

Those aspirations — and some of the Kennedy dynasty's...