Before 9-11, one could argue that the darkest day in American history would probably be the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and perhaps that argument could be won without much difficulty. Everyone who lived through that day could tell you where they were when it happened, but there was one person in particular who saw it all up close: the First Lady Jackie Kennedy. The bullets hit her as much as they did her husband; not literally of course but the impact was there.
Jackie is a depiction of what the First Lady went through before, during and after the assassination. It’s a tale of a remarkable woman’s strength and fragility through grief, despair and hardship.
I’m just going to cut through the red tape and tell it like it is: Natalie Portman is awesome in this movie! From the moment the movie begins, from the moment you hear her speak as Jackie Kennedy, she had everything nailed down: the look, the mannerisms, the diction, the range, she was in complete control of this role and she became the driving force of this film!
Director Pablo Larraín and screenwriter Noah Oppenheim have gone to great lengths to bring such a tragic and powerful story, built on very dark and tragic subject matter from a very unique perspective, to audiences for them to see for themselves and they can relate to it because Jackie is ultimately a film about a person trying to navigate through grief and the disillusionment and pain of it all and that is a universal subject for all of us!
Natalie Portman steals the show but there are several standouts from the rest of the cast including Billy Cudrup, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Richard E. Grant, John Carroll Lynch, Beth Grant and Caspar Phillipson.
Stéphane Fontaine’s cinematography is undeniable and gorgeous. Every frame is practically picturesque and the camera simply loves Portman in every frame she occupies, whether she is showering to remove Kennedy’s blood from her hair or walking around the White House or marching in the funeral procession, the photography throughout this picture is superb.
Micachu’s score, Sebastián Sepulveda’s editing, Jean Rabasse’s production design, Madeline Fontaine’s costumes, practically every technical element that went into the production of Jackie just captures you! This is truly a piercing picture and that is a testament to the impeccable attention to detail that went into this movie.
I will admit that the final act of the film felt as though it was dragging. I thought that somewhere in the final 30 minutes, this movie should have found an appropriate place to end but the final act just felt so tedious.
Rest assured, Jackie is a movie that is worth the price of admission because it gives audiences a glimpse into the state of mind of the person who was closest to President Kennedy and shares her perspective on what happened before, during and after, her pain throughout the process, the power in her processing and the perseverance to keep her husband’s legacy alive! It has a remarkable leading performance, good writing, firm execution and is practically dazzling!