A biopic, Jackie, directed by Pablo Larraín to a screenplay written by Noah Oppenheim, presents episodes in the life of Jacqueline Kennedy. The story focuses primarily on her character before, during, and in the hours and days following the JFK shooting. Cleverly weaved as a newspaper interview, conducted about a year after the slaying, the plot interlaces memories from Jackie’s early days at the White House, with reflections of the events during and after the assassination.
Jackie’s cast includes Natalie Portman as the former First Lady, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup and John Hurt.
While this film was widely praised by critiques, I did not much care for it. Portman works hard to fit into Jackie’s shoes and does a good job at that, yet, somehow, she remains Portman playing Jackie and not the real deal. The musical score is a horrific misfit. The whining violins keep emphasizing moments that are already melodramatic, like a text in which every second line ends up with an exclamation mark. On the upside, the art direction is excellent, transferring us into the period, as is the camera work.
Jackie tells the tale of a woman, who, at one moment had it all, and in the next, all seemed lost. The notion of this loss is in the film, but all we receive at the end is a bitter Jackie who is only half the person she would grow up to be. The film has a good concept at heart, but should not have been made into a feature-length film. It would have been better serve as a mini-series, expanding the story further, and accordingly, rewarding the audience with a richer insight into a persona that, despite her faults, is still much loved by most American today.