Sunday, December 18, 2016


    An absolute tour de force  from Natalie Portman who is just remarkable as Jackie Kennedy following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Director Pablo Larrain frames the entire film around his subject with much of it shot in closeup for maximum effect.  An intimate portrait of the woman, Ms. Portman is just about in every scene.

     The film opens a week after the assassination and a reporter from Life magazine has come to Hyannisport to interview Jackie. Billy Crudup plays reporter Theodore H. White who  presses, as gently as possible, Ms. Kennedy for her thoughts and feelings. The interview, which appeared in Life Magazine, takes us to the days leading up to the tragedy and the days that follow. We see the private and public Jackie who's persona, already bigger than life, takes on mythic proportions as "The Widow". 

      Peter Sarsgaard co-stars as Bobby Kennedy and while a strong actor, doesn't quite capture the younger Kennedy brother. Greta Gerwig is almost unrecognizable as Nancy Tuckerman, Ms. Kennedy's assistant. It's an excellent change of pace for Ms. Gerwig and it really shows her range. Other dependable actors portray the real life people of the time including Max Cassela as Jack Valenti, John Hurt as Father Richard McSorley, and John Carroll Lynch and Beth Grant as Lyndon and Ladybird Johnson. In just a few scenes, Caspar Phillipson is a credible doppelganger of John F. Kennedy.

        Mixing recreations with actual footage, the film is very faithful to the public events surrounding the tragedy.  Jackie's private moments can only exist in the mind of screenwriter, Noah Oppenheim but they seem natural and believable considering the circumstances. Ms. Portman simply transforms herself as Jackie and never has a false note. She must be considered the strong front runner for Best Actress at the next Oscars. It's an amazing performance.

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