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 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 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.
“Jackie” features a mesmerizing performance by Natalie Portman as the charming First Lady who once presided over what she called “Camelot”. Portman’s speech and diction as Jackie are expertly delivered, and she is woven into real scenes that took place in the White House. The film, shot with a grainy film stock, blends perfectly into the archived film that is used in various spots of the movie. This is a real portrait of what Jackie Kennedy went through in the first few days following her husband’s assassination. She is seen giving an interview to a reporter and she tells him certain details “will not be published.”
For history buffs and for people who lived during the time of the Kennedy assassination, this recreation lends a strong authenticity to the time period in its clothes, hair styles, automobiles, and sets. But it is Portman, who has received Oscar buzz for her performance and a Golden Globe nomination for best actress, who takes us into the world of being in the spotlight and planning the funeral for the most famous man in the world. She shares intimate thoughts with the reporter, including comments like, “His blood and brains were in my lap. I said, ‘Jack, Jack, can you hear me? I love you, Jack.'” She also says, through tears, “His eyes were opened. I knew he was dead.” The movie does its job in presenting a glimpse into a fascinating First Lady and into what she endured as she steadfastly marched forward, setting an example of strength for the nation. She has moments of changing her mind in planning the funeral, and she goes from great grief to being strong. Her character as well as her doubts are expertly shown in the film. The strong acting, including that of Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby Kennedy, along with tight direction, combine to bring a tragic story to the screen. Sadly, due to the violent recreations in the film and strong language, we are unable to award the movie our Dove Seal.