<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Pablo Larrain. Starring Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Joh Hurt, Max Casella, Billy Crudup
Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Not really a biography, thankfully, Jackie is more of the personality of a woman who must deal with the death of her powerful husband right after he is shot on national TV.
In 1963, President of the United States, John F. Kennedy was assassinated in his open car cavalcade in Dallas. His wife Jackie was right beside him when it happened. She tried to hold in his brains and keep the pieces of his face that had splattered all over her pink dress and car. It’s hard to imagine the kind of fear, anger, sadness and helplessness she must have faced as the car raced to the hospital to no avail.
Jackie gets little time to reflect on what just happened. It’s only a lot later when a reporter from Life magazine (Billy Crudup) comes to interview her that she gets to relive the horrific period of her life.
In a flashback she relates what she went through, how people reacted to the shocking news, how she was treated and the fear that had gripped her. Natalie Portman has really gotten into her character as the fashionable and beautiful Jackie. So much so, that you begin to both care for and dislike Jackie at the same time. Her voice can sometimes be irritating, but her silences and confessions of weakness are endearing.
Director Pablo Larrain has deftly pieced together varying time periods before the incident, during and after to create a stellar visual piece that is commercial and arty simultaneously. There are bits and pieces from original footage interwoven with the new footage (some shot on cameras from the period to lend authenticity). And the score by Mica Levi is simply superb as it goes from exulting to sorrowful.
Jackie tells of a different time when women had a certain role to play, like picking out curtain fabric. Politics was a family business and the Kennedy’s acted like royalty. It was their Camelot and they were going to make everyone see their power in life and in death.