Jackie: 60 Second Movie Review [video] - Hope 103.2

Jackie: 60 Second Movie Review [video]

Natalie Portman shines in this new biopic of America's most recognised first lady Jackie Kennedy.

By Ben McEachenMonday 30 Jan 2017The Big PictureMoviesReading Time: 2 minutes

American President John F Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Jackie focuses on the immediate aftermath of that shattering event, especially its effect on JFK’s wife, Jackie (played by Natalie Portman). As she is interviewed by a magazine journalist (Billy Crudup), Jackie details moments and events which are significant to her grief process.

WHAT’S GOOD: Tackling such a famous event is made instantly less familiar, by Jackie’s obsessive focus upon the former first lady. Portman’s intense performance as a grieving widow with the world’s eyes upon her is a work of committed mimicry and – as Jackie unfurls – increasing humanity. While a lot of credit for Jackie’s engaging with audiences goes to Portman, director Pablo Larrain deserves applauses for his deliberately different tackling of real-life events. From the unsettling score to the fragmented flashbacks within the script, Jackie forces us to re-arrange and reflect anew upon well-known events.

WHAT’S NOT: Jackie is devoted to grief, frustration and obsessively trying to preserve someone’s legacy. As such, it’s not a Friday Night date movie designed for laughter and fun. The intensity of Jackie Kennedy’s world can become stifling, with director Larrain refusing to let up. Some viewers will find this tough, as well as Portman’s great but showy acting. Even though she nails the part, her voice and mannerisms and look can still be hard to swallow.

SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: Jackie boils down to one word: Legacy. As we watch her openly manipulate the magazine journalist, or open up to a priest (John Hurt), Jackie Kennedy’s on-screen mission isn’t to address her grief or care intently for her children. Instead, she is quickly fixated upon how her husband is remembered – even if that means his flaws and failings are covered up.

Jackie is a sombre challenge to us about what we are living for and how we would like to be remembered. Do we live our lives as if what we leave behind matters? And what could be so important that we want it to be remembered? Is it our work, our house, our car or our words of wisdom? Or could there be something else – or someone else – that is so important they are the only thing worth passing on?

RATED: MA15+ for scenes of injury detail

AUDIENCE: Fans of biopics (biographical films) or American politics. Also, if you’re into modern history, you’ll like Jackie. So will those who are looking for a terrific performance by Natalie Portman.

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