Jackie is a hauntingly hypnotic and harrowingly intimate look at a very private grief of a women who was so publically admired. No one could imagine what it was like for Jackie Kennedy as she sat holding her husbands bloodied head in the back of that car of 1963 but this provocative and confronting film takes steps into getting a glimpse into that devastation in a suitably somber way.
The film is set immediately after the shooting and follows the days following JFK’s assassination. The story arch is shaped around Jackie’s interview with Life Magazine journalist Theodore H White which took place a week after the world changing event.
Natalie Portman is excellent as the first lady as she portrays her both as the nervous presenter of the famous White House televised tour and as the grieving widow post her husband’s assassination. The flash backs to the tour, a pivotal moment in her public life, allows Portman to portray Jackie perfectly as the poised and somewhat delicate first lady. The juxtaposition of her current grief balances this public and private figure who although slight in stature is immensely strong and committed to her public duty and that of her late husband’s legacy.
Director Pablo Larraín’s seems to show such a short period of time but via flashback moments and the white house tour actually ends up giving us a much broader picture of this real life protagonist. The film as a whole feels very un-Hollywood, it’s not ‘making us feel’ anything or sending us moral guidance, there’s not large obviously ego moments for the actors and the focused view of Jackie’s experiences are unassuming yet powerful.
The score by Mica Levi (Under The Skin) is relentless and confronting and it really doesn’t let up for the majority of the film as grief itself does not – like a huge black cloud just hanging over all proceedings. This score really is the icing on the cake of this masterpiece of cinema which will no doubt cause much debate from audience. It’s bound to turn a few stomachs and some will not find it the resolute and comfort they maybe looking for especially during this troubled times in current US politics.
Portman is nothing short of superb in this mesmerizing intimate look at an iconic women during the worst time in her life.
Reviewed by Ingrid Grenar.