Halfway through ‘Jackie,’ I couldn’t help but already think that Natalie Portman is giving the performance of the year. I always thought Portman a very mannered actress, and those mannerisms worked in favor here. because Jackie, even in her own words here, has difficulty discerning what is real, and what is part of her manufactured “image” and the learned cautiousness in Portman’s performance perfectly captures that. Portman makes this film immensely watchable, even when it isn’t.
Directed by Chilean Director Pablo Larrain, ‘Jackie’ shows Kennedy mostly during the time of JFK’s assassination, shortly before, and after. While mostly fictionalized, I thought it was very interesting. I would like to believe a lot of what’s shown here is true, as it appears to ring true. I love a lot of the details here from Jackie’s refusal to take off her pink Chanel suit by Johnson is being sworn in as President, to the way she chose the exact spot where the President is to be buried in Arlington. The show queen in me loved the references to Camelot, with her playing Richard Harris’ title track from the cast recording. The perfumista in me loved how they showed her collection of Guerlain perfumes (She wore Vol de Nuit, I find) In fact, I liek the flashback scenes the best, as it gave me a real glimpse of the Kennedys when they were at the White House – even their unhappy marriage is referenced here.
The film is framed by the interview she gave to the Theodore White interview she gave to Life Magazine shortly after his death, (The reporter is played by Billy Crudup) and those were the parts I liked the least – the scenes seemed stilted and stopped the flow of the movie. But otherwise, I found the film more than fine, as it gave me a peek into the soul of a woman I was a little apathetic about before. I know a lot of people idolized her, but I didn’t feel anything about her either way, mostly because she was mostly not on my radar. That changed after seeing this movie. Is she the manipulator as some have said, or just a complicated woman? This film wisely doesn’t take sides, and lets the audience decide.