Movies often present the unexpected. I approached this movie expecting to compare Jackie to Princess Diana. Why? Consider the apparent fairy tale life, the adoring press and public, the unfaithful husband, the fierce protection of their children from the paparazzi, and the tragedy that befell both. This was not that movie.
Jackie is a very brief snapshot of her life at the time of the death of her husband. It is a depiction of the events from the assassination to the funeral and shortly thereafter. Warning: The shots that killed Kennedy and its effects are graphically and sickeningly displayed. The blood on Jackie’s bright pink dress contrasted with the white colors in the White House presents some amazing photography but also pictures you may not soon forget.
While she won an Oscar for her performance in Black Swan, Natalie Portman has never been my favorite actress. The performance in this movie is Oscar worthy, deserving of the attention she is receiving. Her presence reminds me of Halle Berry in Monster’s Ball or Charlize Theron in Monster.
Much of this movie is shot with a very tight camera focused on the face of a distraught widow.
While I was expecting a biography, this movie is much more a study of grief. We have all seen this kind of pain before; you are likely to remember your feelings as your worked your way through the death of loved ones. Perhaps the director knew we could only tolerate so much and kept the movie to a short 1 hour 35 minutes.
I was 13 at the time of the death of President Kennedy and, like 911, I can tell you where I was when I heard the news. Jackie accurately depicts that all of America watched the events of the next few days; school was cancelled so the nation could watch the funeral and mourn together. Little did we know of the assassinations and attempts on our political figures that would occur over the coming years. This was unfathomable!
Of course, there are other actors. Peter Sarsgaard as Robert Kennedy, Billy Crudup as the journalist and John Hurt as the Priest fill out the movie nicely. And wouldn’t you know that they would have to go to Denmark to find Caspar Phillipson who looks and sounds like John Kennedy. I would like to have seen much more of him. We likely will if they make a movie Kennedy, but this is Jackie and it is all Portman, all the time.
It is not a spoiler to let you know that, at the end, Jackie wants the whole world to remember their time in the White House as Camelot. However, she only wants you to remember the good times and that they will never been seen again. Jackie does not seem to recognize that we do remember the good times of Camelot but that we also remember that Camelot ends with King Arthur heading for battle with Lancelot. One of them must surely die. Not exactly a happily ever after ending.
So, see this movie at your own peril. While it is well done, it still violates Rule No. 2 (See review of 1/2/17).