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 portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Kennedy. 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 portrait of the First Lady as she fights to establish her husband's legacy and the world of "Camelot" that she created and loved so well. Written by
Fox Searchlight Pictures
It was the film's music score composer Mica Levi's plaintive refrain for Jacqueline Kennedy that becomes one of a piece with Natalie Portman's performance. "For Jackie's theme, we used a glissando in the strings that has an uneasy, wobbling pitch. It slightly distorts your comfortable idea of where the chord is because it's a triad. It's a familiar sound but also slightly warped by the crescendoing," Levi explained, "and that seemed to echo something very real about what she was experiencing at that time." See more »
During a long shot of the funeral march, road markings magically appear and disappear in a split second. See more »
One major caveat, but this is an Oscar sure-thing for Natalie Portman
I saw this at one of my rare non-balcony screenings at this year's TIFF with Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who had another film at the festival, the Spanish language NERUDA) present and available for a post-screening Q & A.
First things first. If you thought Helen Mirren as THE QUEEN, Marion Cotillard as Edith Piaf, and Meryl Streep as THE IRON LADY gave great, deservedly Oscar-winning performances in biopics, know that Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy gives a performance here that's every bit in their league. This almost makes you wince at the thought of how much talent was going underutilized in all those Star Wars and Thor movies, but I'm glad that they made it possible for her to play a role like this one. Truly out of the park.
I can't see this film not picking up multiple nominations. Pablo and the picture should both be nominated, but they'll have a tough time taking home the prizes over Damien Chazelle and LA LA LAND (which I also saw and am sure will be a big hit). The cinematography, editing, set design, and ESPECIALLY the makeup are all first-rate and deserving.
There may be a nomination among the supporting players: Peter Sarsgaard is excellent as the thoroughly-broken Bobby Kennedy, and his consideration should benefit from the contrast with his highly-visible role as the head baddie in the remake of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (also seen at TIFF) which is certainly destined for commercial success. (BTW, he's just adequate in that role no match for Eli Wallach in the original.)
About that caveat: The film leaves the impression that there was a national day of mourning the day of the Kennedy funeral, so I inquired of Larrain (who speaks only limited English) why the film didn't address the controversy about the NFL playing a full schedule on the same day. It turned out that he didn't know what the NFL was and had to be informed by the moderator. I didn't really catch his reply, something about things having to go on.
Another quibble: The framing device is an interview Jackie gave to Theodore White a week after the assassination, but White is not identified and is played by Billy Cruddup, who looks nothing like him. The familiarity Jackie had with him is nowhere to be found.
Misimpressions aside, this is a must-see for anyone with a taste for great acting. Let the aforementioned performances be your guide -- that or a desire to see Portman one-up her Oscar turn in BLACK SWAN.
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