The most famous scene in Taxi Driver, that blood-drenched tone poem about '70s alienation, is the one in which Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) asks an imaginary adversary the bombastic question, "You talking to me?" But critics have observed that his next line, the line that's as forgotten as the beautiful tile floor in the Sistine Chapel, is the one that's truly important: "Well, I'm the only one here." In the opening scene of Christine, newscaster Christine Chubbuck (Rebecca Hall) is similarly having an imaginary conversation, this time on an empty soundstage. She's practicing her half of an interview with a not-yet-ousted Richard Nixon, a coveted assignment that will never come true because Chubbuck is a grunt field reporter for a Sarasota, FL, TV station, where she presents community-minded stories about strawberry festivals and zoning-board disputes. On air she comes alive, but off the air there's something not quite right about her -- maybe her furrowed eyebrows are drawn in too forcefully with makeup; maybe she hits her "R's" too hard as a Midwestern transplant; maybe her beauty and height and slimness can't disguise the way she walks down the hallways of WXLT with her forehead lowered like a ram, always on the verge of clenching her fists. There was a lot in Christine Chubbuck's life to clench her fists about in the days leading up to her 30th birthday. A Me Decade viewing public, hungry for grotesque spectacle, is forcing out even her reporting on strawberry festivals, and if she wants to escape the purgatory of small-market newscasting, she's got to get on board with the distasteful mantra of "if it bleeds, it leads." Her own cramping and bleeding reveals she has an ovarian cyst that's got to come out, at great cost to her future fertility. She hungers for a husband and kids, as evidenced by the weekly puppet shows she performs at a children's hospital, but can only pine privately for her co-worker George Peter Ryan (Michael C. Hall), and is stuck living with her free-spirit mother (J. Smith-Cameron) as her roommate. Her mom may lounge around in caftans and smoke pot on the balcony (much to Christine's annoyance), but she's there because she's keeping an eye on her daughter; she knows enough to notice when her daughter's mood is curdling darkly, "like that time in Boston." Conservative commentator David Frum observed in his book How We Got Here: The 70's that the decade in question was when Americans stopped differentiating between wanting to do something and having a right to do something, and Craig Shilowich's excellent screenplay places the Christ-like Christine on the front line of that sea change, when virtue stopped being valid currency. Christine tries to carve out a place where she can still do good in the culture's increasingly coarse terrain, even buying a police scanner and subjecting herself to its intrusive mutter at all hours at home in the hopes of nabbing an unfolding human-interest story. Hearing the sex chatter between bored officers as she tries to sleep in her teenage-narrow twin bed doesn't help her loneliness. Lead actor Rebecca Hall is placed in a plum but delicate position as she acts out a doomed woman's slow unraveling, and it is a bravura performance without a trace of ham -- indeed, without even a clue that she's ever acting. When Christine loses all patience and screams at her mother in one scene, she's not spearing a fishhook with a fat wriggling piece of Oscar bait. She just suddenly becomes someone turning inside out from pain, and the effect is as breathtaking as if she were right in the same room with you. Don't be surprised if your eyes reflexively dart to the theater's emergency exits when she does: Being close to someone this mad requires an escape route. The real Christine Chubbuck's escape route has been well-documented, although YouTube searches for the final newscast she poignantly requested videotaped on July 15, 1974, will come up fruitless. But maybe that's for the best, because a person's last day is only the punctuation mark at the end of a sentence, not the meaning of the sentence itself. Director Antonio Campos, screenwriter Craig Shilowich, Rebecca Hall, and everyone involved with Christine restore that meaning, plumping the postmodern factoid of her suicide back up with the truth of her humanity. Christine Chubbuck was intense, obsessive, idealistic, empathic, yet always looking as if she just couldn't get being human right. Everyone's got periods of feeling that way, but it never let up for Christine, the only one here.