REVIEW: Jackie

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Review by Dustin Heller

Jackie is the new biographical drama film starring Natalie Portman as the titular character, Jacqueline Kennedy.  The film was directed by Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain and was written by Noah Oppenheim.  The excellent supporting cast includes Peter SarsgaardGreta GerwigBilly Crudup and John Hurt.  Jackie is rated R for brief strong violence and some language as is being released by Fox Searchlight Pictures.

The film follows Jackie Kennedy in the four days after the assassination of her husband and 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.  In sitting down with Theodore H. White for an interview with Life magazine, Jackie reflects on her days as the First Lady in the White House and the events that took place on that fateful day and those following.

Jackie is a wonderfully crafted film that is both entertaining and educational at the same time.  I didn’t know a great deal about Jackie Kennedy going into the movie, but Pablo Larrain’s depiction of her truly magnified her grace and beauty in her most vulnerable time.  The film is obviously very somber, and all of those feelings and emotions are brought to life with gorgeous cinematography and a haunting score.  On the not-so-positive side, the film is a bit of a slow burn and does get boring at times, but if you can see past that there is a lot of beauty to be found.  A lot of that credit obviously goes to the director,  but Natalie Portman gives a transcendent performance that should go down as perhaps the best of the year.  The reflection in her voice and the accent is so spot-on that it’s almost eerie.  I don’t believe I’ve seen a better performance this year by a lead actress and she is now the front-runner in my opinion to take home the Oscar.  Jackie definitely isn’t a movie for everyone, but the art-house crowd should eat it up because it is truly a captivating piece of cinema.

Grade:  B+

Jackie opens in Indianapolis on Wednesday, December 21.

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