“Jackie” Review ✦✦✧✧✧

21 January, 2017

Director: Pablo Larraín
Screenwriter: Noah Oppenheim
Director of Photography: Stéphane Fontaine
Cast: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig

Synopsis: In the weeks following the assassination of JFK, a widowed Jackie Kennedy attempts to reassemble her life while planning an elaborate funeral for the deceased president.

Jackie Review:

A wasted opportunity to dig deep into the memoirs of an enigmatic public figure, “Jackie” is a film of big names and vague intentions and it sees an array of picture-perfect costumes amount to nothing alongside its beautiful film score. In what can only be described as a Malickesque rendition of the JFK assassination, the film presents jumbled snippets of the horrifying event, capturing the president’s death with extreme visual accuracy but always diverting our attention away from the man himself in a bid to repackage the story.

By striving to make a film about Jackie Kennedy, Pablo Larraín locks us into the event’s dullest frame of reference, erasing Jackie’s life with JFK away from the screen in an attempt to focus on solely on her misery in the aftermath of his death. Like a haunting memory recalled in stark flashbacks rather than as a whole, the film belittles the Kennedy family’s political legacy, choosing instead to mash the context into an airy-fairy drama about the struggles of a grieving First Lady.

Hiding behind the same dour “Black Swan” routine that we’ve seen a hundred times before, Portman relies heavily on the recognisable inflections of Jackie’s voice, nailing the cadence but never once capturing the essence of the woman herself. Her grief, presented here in the most self-absorbed, pitiful manner, becomes shorthand for an overlooked context as Larraín hones in on an enigmatic woman yet never once captures the real Jackie as seen in her earlier years. The limited scope is ultimately a detriment to the entire movie as Portman’s on-screen suffering makes for absolutely terrible viewing in a film that’s all bark and no bite.


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