Film No. 74 (2016) December 13th. 6.30 PM Greater Union Event Cinema, Innaloo.
"I believe the characters we read about on the page end up being more in relation to the men who stand beside us" (Jackie begins her recount of the days immediately after J.F.K.'s assassination to her handpicked journalist (Billy Crudup.)
Natalie Portman (Jackie) may well have sewn up a Golden Globe and an Oscar in this highly stylised account of the most loved U.S. presidential first lady in the days immediately following that fateful day in November 1963. So therein lies the warning. This is not a Jackie tell all story about her life, loves and final days. This film is so, so much better than that.
Jackie Kennedy was best known, prior to 22.11.1963, as the beautiful first lady who took the world, via T.V., through the White House as she described her new home as The Peoples House. This event becomes a corner stone flash back scene for the film as Jackie talks to unnamed journalist Billy Crudup through the effective technique of story management via Jackie's reflective, highly emotive words.
Because of the private nature in which the actual Jackie Kennedy conducted herself, there were only fleeting moments when she spoke, so her distinctive, breathy vocal tones were very much her fingerprint. Portman has worked her craft, vocally, as fastidiously as she she did physically in Black Swan. She is mesmerising as Jackie. Chilean director Pablo Larrain has a reputation for a thorough approach to his work, his melding with Portman in Jackie is a masterstroke.
This film could have been titled Jackie: 7 Days of Grief. There is no pretence about where we are led as an audience. We learn a little of Bobbie Kennedy's (Peter Sarsgaad) grief and care for his sister-in-law. Lyndon and Ladybird Johnson are background puppets and Jackie's exchanges with priest John Hurt and assistant Tuckerman (Greta Gerwig) are telling. Gerwig is as never seen before in her fleeting role. But Jackie is all down to Natalie Portman and Natalie is good, very good. 10GUMS.