“Jackie” is a drama that brilliantly captures the grief, steely determination, and dignity of the former First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy in the days following her husband’s assassination in 1963. Written by Noah Oppenheim, it is the first English language effort by Chilean director Pablo Larrain, with a haunting score by a sure Oscar nominee, Mica Levi. Speaking of Oscar Nominations, Natalie Portman gives a magnificent performance as Jackie. Those of us old enough to remember the First Lady’s 1962 “Tour of the White House” on CBS, will marvel at the uncanny way Portman has captured the voice and mannerisms of Mrs. Kennedy. But this is no mere impersonation, Portman makes us feel the utter horror of the assassination and the challenges, political and otherwise, that she must deal with as she oversees the historic funeral ceremony. The film makes seamless use of the real footage of both events to put us right there. In fact, the movie is Rated R, most likely because of the graphic recreation of the impact of the fatal assassination bullet. We are given insight into the thought of the First Lady as she meets with a Life Magazine reporter (Billy Crudup) who probes for her state of mind as she contemplates the end of “Camelot”(the Kennedy’s were fond of that Broadway Musical, and it’s title tune is a major player here). This is definitely an art house effort, and those who are patient with the cinematic license taken by the director will be amply rewarded., but if you’re not into psychological drama, it may be a heavy sledding. I thought it was well worth my time and “Jackie” should be a real awards season player.
My GPA: 3.8