Jackie Reviewed By Jon E Clist


The Premise
JACKIE is a searing and intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Natalie Portman). JACKIE places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband's assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a psychological portrait of the First Lady as she struggles to maintain her husband's legacy and the world of "Camelot" that they created and loved so well.

The Review
I need to start off by saying that there seemed to be a major imbalance of the ages of the actors in comparison to the characters they portrayed. I struggled for the first part of this film to connect with Portman's Jackie due to her youthful appearance. However, on time her performance and the story began to win me over and draw me into this tale of great woe. Unless you hate knowing anything about history, you will likely know that JFK (Mr Jackie) was assassinated and that this is going to be a story that will have harrowing moments as we view the emotional and political aftermath as it unfolds.

As the horror unfolds we get to see an emotional rollercoaster of a journey that Jackie has to go through as she attempts to come to grip with what has happened right before her eyes. Through this film we get to witness the wide variety of stages that come from loss and for the most part, Portman smashes it out of the park and makes it quite real and believable.

A film like this is always going to hang on not only the acting performances, but also the ability of the director to capture the time period so that you feel completely transported to another time and place. With the use of archival footage and well panned out cinematography, director Pablo Larrain has done a stunning job of putting the audience right amongst it. This was his first film to be made in the US and Larrain estimated that about a third of the shots in the film were the first take. I guess this proves how important preparation is to successful film making. In fact, filming moved swiftly over 23 days on stages in Paris, with 10 days in Washington D.C. and Baltimore.

As with many movies the film’s story is hung together with an interview between an unnamed reporter and Jackie as she recounts elements of what happened. Although unnamed in the film, Billy Crudup's character is meant to be Theodore H. White of LIFE magazine. Through a collection of on and off record comments, Crudup’s character starts to get a powerful understanding of what Jackie had gone through and kind of just how strong she was as a person.

There is plenty of wonderful dialogue spread lavishly throughout the film and it certainly encouraged me to want to research just how much of it potentially has been taken from reality.

The Verdict
This is a well put together visual representation of the people behind a shocking moment in American history. A great watch.

The Trailer

The Info
Releases: 12th January 2017
Rating: TBC
Duration: 95 minutes 
Genre:  Drama
Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, John Hurt
Director: Pablo Larrain (The Club)

The Extras
The project was announced as directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Rachel Weisz as Jackie Kennedy. Both dropped out but Aronofsky remained as a producer.

Composer Mica Levi's second feature film score.

The screenplay was on The Black List of 2010.


Premiered at the 2016 Venice Film Festival where Noah Oppenheim won Best Screenplay.