Cast includes: Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead), Greta Gerwig (Mistress America), Billy Crudup (Watchmen), John Hurt (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Caspar Phillipson (Flame and Citron), John Carroll Lynch (Shutter Island)
Director: Pablo Larraín (No, The Club, Tony Manero)
Genre: Drama | History | Biography (99 minutes)
Hyannis Port 1963… Jackie Kennedy begins her day walking along the shore at sunrise. It’s crisp and clear, as are the orchestral notes we hear… rich at first but changing to subtle discord. It’s just one week after the funeral that paralyzed the nation in grief. Jackie has granted an interview with an unnamed journalist. “You understand that I will be editing this conversation? It must be my version.” Yet we wonder what Jackie’s version is because her mind wonders. “When something’s written down… does that make it true? Now we have TV...” “You could have had a career in broadcast,” the journalist says. But that only brings back uncomfortable memories of the famous White House Tour. “The people want to hear from you,” Nancy says. “They think I’m a fool,” says Jackie. Jack always thought she spent too much money, but she raised every bit of it from private donations. “I just think everything in the White House should be the best.” Jackie was known for bringing the best to the “people’s house”… in art, furnishings and entertainment. We see flashbacks to the Pablo Casals concert in the East Room.
“You’ll have to share some personal details eventually. People won’t stop asking until you do.” “In a moment by moment account” Jackie goes back to that day in Dallas… going down the steps of Air Force One wearing the memorable pink suit. Her memories come in disjointed fragments… “His blood and brains were in my lap. I tried to hold everything in… His eyes were open… I knew he was dead.” Then she adds, “Don’t think for one minute I’m going to let you publish that.” At the heart of Jackie, the movie, is the interview… some on the record, some off… some matching the historical record, some deeply personal and known only to Mrs. Kennedy. What America saw on that tragic day and immediately after was a strong, composed, grieving widow turning the page on Camelot and framing JFK’s legacy. What we didn’t see was a conflicted and tragic figure, unprepared for the spotlight without Jack by her side.
Jackie is a beautiful film with plenty of nostalgia. Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Jackie is spot on. Some of the other actors have a strong resemblance to the characters they’re playing, but many don’t. As it turns out, that’s not so important because the focus of the film is the interior struggle of Jackie in those first days. The filmmakers departed from the typical biopic in several ways. We notice, for example, the amazing score, which is not music from the era. Yet it feels perfect for this film. Events don’t unfold in chronological order. Instead, they reveal Jackie’s thought process… not the way it might be remembered in hindsight but the way conflicting thought rush in at random, eventually giving us a fuller picture of that time. It’s a beautiful film with many unexpected elements. Again and again, we’re reminded that Jackie wasn’t so comfortable with her fame. “I never wanted fame. I just married a Kennedy.”
4 popped kernels
Jackie’s view of what happened during and immediately after the JFK assassination
Rated: R (Violence)
Gender Style: Sensitive
Distribution: Mainstream Limited Release
Tempo: Cruises Comfortably
Visual Style: High-End Production
Nutshell: JFK assassination and funeral
Language: True to life