Jackie Kennedy was known for her poise and for bringing dignity and tradition to the White House. This film shows her behind the scenes and how very scared she was, we see a much more human side to her, not just a pretty face and a trendsetter… she probably still is looked on as an icon.
Jackie depicts Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman – Black Swan) in the days after JFK’s assassination. We follow her, as she has to handle her grief and the funeral arrangements for her husband. This is a film filled with grief, regret and reflection with an amazing performance by Natalie Portman. Portman inhabits Jackie playing her in many shades and hues. There were many times I forgot that this was Portman and only saw Jackie. We see her as bitter, grieving, calculating and most of all – human.
The film alternates between Jackie giving an interview to Life magazine, and the moments after the assassination and its aftermath. We remain sympathetic with Jackie, as she bullies the interviewer into omitting unpleasant facts from the conversation!
She plays multiple characters because the Jackie who is giving the interview is so different from her in the rest of the film. Jackie is seen at both her strongest and weakest – barely holding together, but still a leader of both her family and a symbolic one for the country, her actions are not vanity, but a show of strength and dignity in the face of horrible tragedy.
Peter Sarsgaard spends the most screen time with her as a Bobby Kennedy who is frustrated with his brother’s legacy and wishes to make it worth something. He tries to stay in control of the situation despite what Jackie wants in the way of funeral arrangements.
The TV scenes from that fateful day, and the week after are embedded in our heads, and the re-enactment of these scenes are the ones that move us the most in Jackie. We are shown Jackie during the legendary televised tour of the White House, but I’m not familiar with this piece of USA television history. The recreations are astounding … the street scenes on the day of the assassination, the swearing in of LBJ on Air Force One mid-air, and the funeral procession. It really feels like 1963.
I left the theatre with this weird, inexplicable feeling as if I had just talked to Jackie in person and saw firsthand how she coped with the trauma. I guess this is what cinema is actually supposed to do to you.
ROKS RATINGS: 4/5 glasses of bubbly
Have you seen Jackie? What did you think of the film? If you haven’t seen it, will you be seeing it soon?
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