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Ethel Kennedy, Robert Kennedy


Sun Jan 20, 9-10.55pm, Sky Atlantic

The world hardly wants for Kennedy hagiographies, but this one might just take the biscuit. Directed by Robert Kennedy’s daughter Rory – born six months after RFK’s death – it tells the story of her mother/his wife through the reminiscences of Ethel herself and assorted family members (tellingly, no one without the surname Kennedy contributes), making good use of fascinating archive footage. But this insular attitude towards the narrative leaves the viewer feeling excluded. It’s very much a family affair. The respectable tragedies (the assassinations, in other words) are covered in moving depth while the manifold other controversies surrounding the clan are ignored. Though understandable on a personal level, such evasiveness does this film no favours as either a work of art or a piece of history. For all its good intentions and incidental interest, it burnishes the Camelot myth to the point of self-sabotage.
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