• Guy Jeffries

Jackie Review


Director: Pablo Larraín.

Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Richard E. Grant, Greta Gerwig, John Carroll Lynch.

Chilean director Pablo Larraín filming practically back to back with Naruda, filmed on his native country about another historical figure. It can't be easy to tackle such famous people as topics, possibly attacking viewers already made up opinions of them. But to do it twice at the same time, and to do it well is quite a feat for any director.

As a director, Larraín is quite political, coming from a political family that doesn't actually agree with his ideology. His short but impressive list of films are very political indeed, especially his most well known being his film, No. Jackie is his first film made in English, and I had an intriguing question as to why the brilliant Chilean director would decide to direct a film about Jackie Kennedy.

He was approached by producer Darren Aronofsky after Larraín's film, The Club took the Grand Jury Prize at the Berlin Film Festival in 2015 and though initially shocked at the idea, after some thought he was eager to make the film about the first most iconic and influential First Lady.

It's covers the following week from the tragic assassination, ignoring very much of the main man himself and being totally focused on the titular First Lady. It displays her courage and vanity, whilst channeling not just hers, but the nation's and beyond's grief for the lost of a great man and husband. Seeing her not just as the First Lady, but as a wife, a widow, and a grieving mother, who, at that moment of grief had to move from the White House, their home, console their two children and organise a funeral worthy of her Husband's legacy, showing her love and devotion to her late husband. All of this while dealing with the new and all too eager Lyndon B. Johnson administration and the rest of Kennedy's grieving family, namely the brother in law, Bobby Kennedy played by Peter Sarsgaard.

We're introduced right at the time after the assassination, with who I can only imagine is LIFE magazine's journalist Theodore H. White (Billy Crudup) who interviewed Mrs Kennedy at this different time. Larraín brilliantly fleshes out the story with balanced flashbacks of the tragic, horrid moment and Mrs Kennedy's vintage tour of the White House before the event which displays the importance of public image and relations, her fashion and her flamboyant taste and style which is done with strong expressionism, using vibrant colour yet still retaining maximum authenticity.

Madeline Fontaine's costume design certain deserves the Oscar nomination at the very least, the production as a whole is amazingly executed and put together. Even Mica Levi's resonating score is masterful, being quite different, or unexpected, being both sinister and beautiful at the same time using a glissando. Another well deserved Oscar nomination and hopefully a win on both counts.

The casting of Natalie Portman as Jackie was actually a demanded condition of Larraín when accepting to direct the film, and you can see why. Larraín stating that they had to look like the prominent lady. Portman is simply incredible, would be very surprised if she does not receive the oscar for best leading actress. You can tell she's done her homework studying what footage must have been available to her, giving a performance showing an unknown humanity, a sternness and vanity of Jackie Kennedy.

It does question the state of today's States but without getting too political. It's not going to be to everyone's taste, being captivating but not necessarily a riveting drama, however what must be appreciated about this film is the craftsmanship, a visual masterpiece from Larraín coupled with Levi's score and Portman's incredible performance.

The American Camelot: "a brief shining moment."

Running Time: 7

The Cast: 9

Performance: 10

Direction: 10

Story: 8

Script: 9

Creativity: 10

Soundtrack: 10

Job Description: 8

The Extra Bonus Point: 0

Would I buy the Blu-ray?: Probably not.

81% 8/10

#PabloLarraín #NataliePortman #PeterSarsgaard #BillyCrudup #JohnHurt #RichardEGrant #MicaLevi #GretaGerwig #JohnCarrollLynch #MaxCasella #RalphBrown