Jackie (2016)

jackie poster 2016 movie natalie portman
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good looking, interesting period of time, good acting

Jackie Kennedy remains a question and listening to her speak is grating

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Jackie

Studio:  LD Entertainment

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  September 7, 2016 (Venice)/December 2, 2016 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

jackie lyndon johnson sworn in plane photo

A recreation of the famous photo

Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman) is being put through something she never expected to experience.  Her husband President John F. Kennedy (Caspar Phillipson) has just been killed in front of her and now she has to plan his funeral, tell her children, and learn about the killer…all under the microscope of the world.  As she tells her side of the story to a journalist (Billy Crudup), Jackie recalls the whirlwind that has been the White House and questions how her husband’s legacy will be remembered.

Directed by Pablo Larrain, Jackie is a historical biopic drama.  The movie originally premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was released to positive reviews.  The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Actress (Portman), Best Costume Design, and Best Original Score.

From people that were alive and movies around it, I’ve always heard that the week after Kennedy’s assassination was a weird, dreamlike experience.  There were lots of questions of what was going on, who was responsible, and then when people were learning about Oswald and his involvement, Oswald was cut down by Ruby…all while a funeral for the President was being planned.  Jackie does an interesting job telling the story of that week from the perspective of someone who was involved by blending speculation and history…but I’m not sure what to think of it.

jackie priest natalie portman john hurt final role

This movie really went in a different direction when an alien burst from his chest and Hellboy showed up to kill it…

Jackie Kennedy comes off as an enigma after watching the whole movie.  In mourning, she is sullen, but she’s also looking at the big picture even after the tragedy.  The legacy of “Camelot” was allegedly born from her (and I guess it takes the good and bad of Camelot since I’ve never seen the story of King Arthur as a positive one).  The movie does do a good job capturing the nature, confusion, and tragedy of the week from different perspectives.  The country needed to mourn but also couldn’t just shot down.

Natalie Portman is a good, but the performance is bizarre in that I always found Jaqueline Kennedy odd.  She had a really strange way of speaking and Portman nails the strange cadence…but it is distracting.  Scenes like the recreation of Kennedy’s tour of the White House are great because they feel like the genuine article, but they always were stiff and impersonal to me despite being heralded as revolutionary.  Portman is backed by a great supporting cast including Billy Crudup, Peter Sarsgaard, John Hurt (in his final performance), Richard E. Grant, John Carroll Lynch, Greta Gerwig, and Beth Grant among others.

jackie jfk funeral natalie portman

The long walk…

The movie also looks great.  The movie really highlights Jackie, and she pops in the film.  I wouldn’t have normally seen Portman as a match for Jacquelyn Kennedy, but her portrayal and the visuals work hand-in-hand to make her and the world she lives in feel real.

Jackie is a tough movie because while the portrayals feel accurate, much of the story is fictionalized “truth” based largely on what historians speculate about the events of the week.  In addition, Jacqueline Kennedy is a rather polarizing figure since she was America’s darling to some but others see the Kennedys as an entitled family.  Regardless how you see the Kennedys, the movie captures a unique period in American history.

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The 89th Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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