Jackie Kennedy was one of the most glamorous and famous women of her day. A unique first lady with style and grace, all thanks to her marriage to JFK, the catalyst to her rise in fame and stature. Devoted wife to a President who was far from discreet in his dalliances with a certain blonde haired bombshell and loving Mother.
There comes a point that every good run must come to an end and Mrs Kennedy’s world came crumbling down around her on that fateful day of November 22, 1963, when John F. Kennedy was assassinated by being shot in the head on a motorcade procession through the streets of Dallas. Chilean Director, Pablo Larrain has taken it upon himself to take an unprecedented look at Jackie in the days after JFK’s death, the days in which she wrote her own history amidst the much bigger event in her life she simply had no control over, it’s just a shame that the phenomenal performance of Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Jackie was completely wasted on a picture that has absolutely no charisma, charm or gripping elegance to entice the audience with the will to stay to the bitter end.
Jackie is by no means your conventional biopic, Larrain simply doesn’t do predictable, At no point does Larrain or screenwriter Noah Oppenheim portray Jackie through rose tinted glasses, her legacy here is based on her ability to fabricate on her life. Based on the days before, during and directly after JFK’s death via flashbacks and on the Life Magazine interview just a week after the horrifying event, Jackie sits down with a journalist (Billy Crudup) to give an ‘honest’ and open interview but makes it perfectly clear she is in control and she will edit out anything she doesn’t like even if the words did come directly from her mouth.
Through a grainy lens that sits perfectly for the era, during each period we are transported too, Jackie becomes almost like a chameleon in being able to adapt her personality to suit the surroundings and situation. From a very demure and almost vulnerable girl showing a camera crew around the White House she furnished, to the cold, calm and collected women giving the interview who only shows the merest of emotion as she describes the moment in the car when her husband was shot, to the moments she is alone in her room stripping off her blood-soaked clothing in a state of poignant anguish. Reconciling all these traits together with her breathy tone of speech Portman proves her range is vast and impressive. Her classic beauty also shines in the numerous close up’s Larrain so adores to use.
Jackie will no doubt split audience opinion; on one side of the fence are those who will see this as a cinematic masterpiece and on the other, which I for one reside, will find this an out and out bore with its dull storyline with a huge lack of gumption, more a TV movie for a lack of a better description.
Jackie is in cinemas January 20th.