24 March 2017

Review: Jackie (Movie)

Review: Jackie (Movie)The 2016 film Jackie starring Natalie Portman and directed by Pablo LarraĆ­n has a narrow focus, concentrating on the week or so after President John F. Kennedy (Caspar Phillipson) was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

The movie is framed around an interview Jackie Kennedy grants to a nameless jouralist, just days after the funeral when the widow has already moved out of the White House. She tells the reporter what she wants the world to know about her husband, while we see what it was like for her to travel from radiant First Lady to blood-stained widow, to single mother, and to the unknown future.

I'm not sure what stood out for me more: the sets and costuming or Portman's astounding performance. Anyone old enough to remember the Kennedys in the White House and the heart-breaking funeral procession will be amazed at how believably the film captures the details of the era: the hair, the dresses and suits, the everyday objects (phones, TVs, record players), and the general atmosphere.

The White House sets are gorgeous and I loved the way the film shows how Jackie transformed the "people's house" into an icon of history and a beacon of grace, beauty, art, and music.

Review: Jackie (Movie)Jackie does a good job showing what Jackie was up against in those last days in the White House and her determination to create a particular legacy for her husband. It wasn't just her fight to stand up to the men who wanted to control everything and move their energies on to the Johnsons but also her desire to not be protected from the truth while planning the perfect funeral for JFK and the nation.

Portman is absolutely mesmerizing as she works through a wide range of emotions, including a kind of dazed PTSD, periods of frenzied activity, an air of calm research and planning, and the palpable fear and grief over having to tell her children they were fatherless. We clearly see the complexities of Jackie's personality. She wasn't too naive to know her husband for who he really was, yet she was smart enough to craft the image she wanted history to remember.

Natalie Portman's acting alone is enough for you to put Jackie on your watch list, but I'm also recommending the movie for brilliantly capturing a pivotal historic moment in American history. It's also interesting to contrast the Kennedys with the current administration, especially in terms of understanding the importance of the arts.

6 comments:

rhapsodyinbooks 3/24/17, 6:50 AM  

Oh I have to watch this! Thanks for reminding me! (Jim is gone this week, perfect timing!)

bermudaonion 3/24/17, 8:56 AM  

I was told the soundtrack ruined this movie so I've avoided it. You've made it sound like it's worth watching. I'll have to look for it.

(Diane) bookchickdi 3/24/17, 7:39 PM  

That's quite a rave! I'm going to have to put this on my list.

nishitak 3/24/17, 10:53 PM  

I've heard mixed things about this movie, but now after reading this review, I"ll make the time to watch it.

Deb in Hawaii 3/25/17, 12:25 PM  

I have been wanting to watch this one--great review.

Daryl 3/27/17, 1:06 PM  

i passed on this during our go at the Academy screeners ... i dont love Portman (or Jackie) and i just wasnt interested in seeing her take on Jackie

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