Senator Edward Kennedy, one of the most famous members of America's most famous family, understood that he belonged as much to popular culture as to political culture. Now, nine years after his death, comes a movie about the event that, almost as much as the circumstances of his birth, established him in the tabloid pantheon: Chappaquiddick.
The film, by the same name, opened Friday and retells the story of an accident in July 1969, on the titular Massachusetts island near Martha's Vineyard, in which Mr. Kennedy drove off a bridge, killing his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, a campaign worker for his late brother Robert. It has been heavily promoted by conservative media outlets, and reviewers across the political spectrum have praised what they deem its damning but factual approach. Damning it is; factual it is not.