I want them to see what they have done to Jack.
Academy Award-winner Natalie Portman is Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in this dramatic portrait of the First Lady, following her immediately after the assassination of JFK. From the director of the Oscar-nominated No.
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BY Leonie-Hayden-Flicks Flicks Writer
Hours after John F. Kennedy’s death, Jackie Kennedy watched President Lyndon B. Johnson get sworn in while her husband’s blood was still fresh on her clothes. Days after her husband’s death she organised an elaborate public funeral procession and gave an exclusive interview to LIFE Magazine, both of which elevated her husband’s legacy to mythical proportions.... More
In the retelling of these stories, Natalie Portman’s eerily masterful portrayal of Jackie Kennedy puts the finishing touches on the myth of Jackie O. herself.
As a portrait of grief it’s incredibly raw, as you’d expect from Portman after her Oscar-winning turn in Black Swan (and one fully expects this performance will add a second trophy to the shelf), but there is barely a second’s reprieve from the intensity of the performance which I found quite exhausting in places.
Chilean director Pablo Larrain’s take on this most American of fairy tales does add a distance that feels necessary, painting with a grey/green palette that matches both the paranoia of the Cold War-era and the grainy film of many of these historical events that have been so beautifully recreated here.
Jackie is a fascinating, high energy, character study and well worth your time if you don’t mind the emotional cost.Hide
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BY cinemusefilm superstar
The film’s starts with the motorcade in which John F. Kennedy was assassinated and ends with his funeral. The narrative is framed around a journalist’s interview conducted a week after the event and a confessional talk with a priest at the funeral. It uses their questions and comments to trigger flashbacks to the short JFK presidency, with dramatisations that craft together archival footage and historical photographs. The title of the film makes it clear that this is a portrait of Jackie (played by Natalie Portman) so her words, her emotions, and her actions are the primary focus. The film’s narrative tension comes entirely from the depiction of her inner world of private trauma and her struggles with the political and public reaction to the event.
The most striking aspect of Portman’s portrayal is her ability to present several sides of the one persona as if she and Jackie shared multiple personalities. Once you recover from the distraction that Portman barely resembles Jaqueline Kennedy, she takes you on an emotional roller-coaster, from terror, anger, hate, confusion, mental vacillation and disorientation to calm resolve about her role in history. Throughout it all she remains committed to turning a tragedy into national mythology based on political heroism, the Kennedy legend, and the Camelot fairy tale. While there is a commendable support cast, this is a one-woman performance and Portman’s portrayal is a tour de force.
Some will find this film an unflattering interpretation of Jaqueline Kennedy while others will find that it helps them to sympathetically understand the person behind the mask. The film steers a fine line in avoiding judgement and it is Portman’s dramatic ability to step into Jackie’s soul and to capture her mental trauma that ultimately shines. No bio-pic is perfect and you need to overlook scenes where the film struggles with period authenticity. Set this aside and you will be rewarded with a memorable performance about an unforgettable event.Hide
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