Friday, 27 January 2017

Review: Jackie

'Jackie' the film about First Lady Jackie Kennedy, that has the critics heaping praise on Natalie Portman, who this week earned an Oscar nomination for her performance, doesn't disappoint.

The film focuses primarily on the events during the week after the assassination of John F Kennedy, in Dallas, on November 22 1963, and rather than the film looking at the events in a broad context, it focuses itself on Jackie, and her individual grief.

'Jackie' feels like a one woman show, on the part of Portman, who brings the former First Lady to life with stunning accuracy, and attention to detail. Pair that with the fantastic costume design of Madeline Fontaine (also Oscar nominated), and unmatched authenticity is delivered.

During the film the 'Tour of the White House' which Jackie Kennedy did in 1961, allowing cameras into the White House to film her and JFK, is recreated in the same black and white fashion, and you could be forgiven for mistaking it for the real thing.

It's very much about Jackie's psychology more than anything else, yes the film references Lee Harvey Oswald, and his death, but that is very much in the background, the focus is always on Jackie and how she personally deals with her grief.

I think with the sensational nature of the JFK Assassination, it's easy just to see him as the 35th President of the United States, but this film focusses on him more as a father, a husband, a son, a brother and so on.

The thought processes that Jackie goes through are explored in detail, such as speaking to a Priest and trying to understand how any God could take away a father from two small children. Of course at that point Jackie had already lost a child (Patrick Kennedy), who died 2 days after birth.

At times Portman's performance has you feeling her pain, it truly is an emotional rollercoaster, which sees Jackie having to deal with the usual things a widow must deal with, such as explaining what has happened to her children, but what was extraordinary about what Jackie had to deal with, was the scale of what had happened, JFK wasn't "ordinary", he was President of the United States, and his death was a major news story worldwide, not just in the US.

The film certainly shows the cold nature of events in terms of President Johnson's swearing in, with Jackie Kennedy standing beside him covered in blood just hours after the assassination. Of course Kennedy was able to stay in the White House, but soon after the funeral on November 25, she had to move out with her two children.

In short its well worth a watch, though it has a limited release in the UK, for example in Birmingham, I usually go to Odeon to see films as I'm a Limitless member, but had to go to Cineworld to see Jackie, as it has a limited release, so only a select number of cinemas in the UK are showing it.

Having seen both Jackie and La La Land, I think Natalie Portman does deserve the Best Actress Oscar over Emma Stone, not to take anything away from Stone, who was fantastic, but I truly think Portman delivers more.

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