There have been countless movies created surrounding the assassination of John F Kennedy, though very few that deal specifically with Jackie Kennedy Onassis and the aftermath of one of the most shocking moments in American history.
Jackie is set following the week after the assassination and focuses on an interview Jackie gave to a reporter (Billy Crudup) as Jackie (Natalie Portman) establishes the legacy of her husband following the assassination and the life she lived while the then First Lady of America.
Portman’s portrayal of the iconic woman is outstanding, from the poise displayed by the woman through to heart wrenching moments as she recalls the moment her husband was shot and the now widely known moments where she held her husband’s head together as they rushed to the hospital to attempt to save the president, to the swearing in of Lyndon B Johnson and Jackie’s decision to not change in the hours after the murder, still wearing her pink suit covered in the presidents blood and the powerful approach that “they should see what they have done”.
The film recounts happier times in the White House, the tour Jackie gave that was televised to American audiences and the backlash she felt from the public over her renovations of the White House, and the feeling of being a first-term President and the support Jackie gave to her husband. The film touches on JFK’s widely known affairs and the burden this placed on Jackie, and her decision to take this in her stride.
I was pleasantly surprised by this film and the original way the film makers retold a story that is known and poured over by historians and the public and the way they both created a respectful portrait of a much-loved woman and legacy while delivering performances and storylines in a way that allowed audiences to make up their own mind on the decisions that were made by Jackie both in the week following the assassination and the years and months that she was the First Lady.
Portman approaches this performance with the same determination and breadth of talent she displayed in The Black Swan, that earned her an Oscar, and is a perfect vehicle for her to reach those heights again. The supporting cast of Crudup, Greta Gerwig (Nancy Tuckerman), John Hurt (The Priest), Max Casella (Jack Valenti) and Peter Sarsgaard (Bobby Kennedy) perfectly accompany Portman on this journey – each delivering beautiful performances of their own while supporting some truly amazing acting by Portman.
Jackie is absolutely worth the time to watch and experience.