Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband's historic legacy.
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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. Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Natalie Portman is terrific as Jackie Kennedy even if the film never catches up to her genius.
Jackie tells the story of former First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, as she struggles to cope with the assassination of her husband, John F. Kennedy. While many people are concerned with the magic bullet theory, Jackie is concerned with the life of the woman behind the 35th President of the United States after she endures having to watch her husband die in that now infamous car ride in Dallas. There is no room for macho-ism here. This film is a singular burst of estrogen on screen as we follow Portman's Jackie navigate through the days after her husband's death. This isn't a film in which a woman discovers herself through a man. This is a film about a strong woman put in a near impossible situation and how she coped with that impossible situation to become exactly what she was known to most of the world as: the strongest woman alive.
First off, this film is a brilliant character study. Running at a brisk 96 minutes, the film is relentless in showing every facet of Jackie's life both before and after the assassination. Natalie Portman is astounding as the titular character. She plays Mrs. Kennedy with such honesty and tenacity that it is almost impossible to look away. This is a performance for the ages and definitely Portman's best performance since her Oscar winning performance in Black Swan. While the film features an amazing performance from Portman and the rest of the cast, including an impressive turn from Peter Sarsgaard as Robert F. Kennedy along with Billy Crudup and Greta Gerwig, it fails to captivate the audience past the phenomenal performances.
The film, despite being a brisk 96 minutes, doesn't allow for anything other than the performances to speak. The cinematography, while very nice and well done, doesn't really work like it should. It never feels as grand or as sweeping as it should for such an amazing subject matter. It hits the familiar beats of a character study and walks to the tune of a standard biopic. But no matter how familiar this film ends up feeling, for every standard point to it, there's an extraordinary performance to off set it.
Overall, Jackie is a film that was made for heavy hitting actors that can give breathtaking performances and our cast doesn't disappoint even if the film sometimes does. It hits every familiar beat that the biopic formula has created over the years. While this may sound like a negative, it does fit this film and does wonders for Natalie Portman's searing and commanding performance.
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