Jackie: An intimate look into Jackie Kennedy
Jackie is an exceptional film. It is quite possibly the best horror film I have ever seen, without it being a traditional one at that. This film is not a horror film, let’s be clear. It’s marketed as a biographical drama of one of the most infamous first lady’s that The United states has quite possibly ever seen. The film is separated into two parts, one being Jackie talking to a reporter a few weeks after her husband, president JFK’s assassination. The other part is her intimate life before, during and after the shooting. This technique not only allows us to feel intimate within the film, but also shows the professional side of Jackie.
However, this particular way of doing things is possibly the biggest, and maybe the only flaw of Jackie. The character that sits down with the reporter is distant, isolated and constantly shut down by men who find her to be inferior. Even the scene when she is giving a tour of the white house on camera she is interrupted by a male interviewer, leaving Jackie to feel unimportant in her own home. This side of Jackie does not sit well with audiences as we lose our strong female character that we root for to survive. Natalie Portman's exaggeration of her petite frame and quiet raspy voice become lost amongst the large horde of people that surround you when you belong to the most famous family in America. This in itself is one of the most intelligent parts about the film. By doing this purposely, Lorraine has created a conflicting and multi-dimensional character for his audience to experience.
Natalie Portman’s performance mirrors the tone of the entire film. It is dense, complex and rather dramatic at times, often being very similar in its portrayal of the real Jackie Kennedy, an outspoken and quietly confident woman. The entire film features themes about story tales and what is real and what is not. The film flinches between Jackie and john’s flawless marriage to Jackie staring into space speaking about “what people don’t know”. Jackie’s real-life problems after her husband’s death are wonderfully handled. Instead of allowing his film to become a drama piece about a struggling widow turning to alcohol for comfort, Larrain shows a woman under the public eye who although is struggling, will not be defined by it. Portman's take on jackie is the most intimate portrayal of a political figure since sean penn's 2008 oscar winning role of harvey milk. Like Penn, Portman exudes a sense of raw horror to the events that take place around her. However it is the most mundane of scenes, such as her taking off her bloody stockings, that packs the most drama.
The timing of this film is magical. The flashbacks explain scenes that are sometimes lost within Pablo lorrain’s choice to let his fantastic musical score do the talking instead. Larrain’s choice of musical score is a plethora of disturbingly frightening sounds, only helping the audience feel this sense of confronted horror. The rather monstrous assassination scene is done with so much poise and beauty that although he made the somewhat controversial decision to keep it as graphic as he could, the scene is honestly breath taking.
I might be biased because I enjoyed the film tremendously but this really was an exquisite piece of cinema. Rather than creating a stiff and weak history biopic, Pablo Lorraine has produced a timeless cinematic marvel, weaving in and out of jackie's story with grace, dignity and just the right amount of drama. Bravo.