Directed by Pablo Larraín
Country: USA / Chile / France
The filmmaking competence of the acclaimed Chilean director Pablo Larraín ("Tony Manero", "Post Mortem", "No", "The Club") is not at stake in his latest feature, “Jackie”, a stylized biopic with a few aspects to admire.
The film, written by Noah Oppenheim (“The Maze Runner”, “Allegiance”) and co-produced by Darren Aronofsky ("Requiem for a Dream", "The Wrestler", "Black Swan"), is centered on the former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, emulating her emotional states in the aftermath of President John F. Kennedy’s shocking assassination in 1963.
Natalie Portman flawlessly embodies the title character and delivers an enlightened, Oscar-worthy performance. She got strong back up from Billy Crudup, Peter Sarsgaard, and John Hurt.
On a cold winter day, an apparently self-confident Jackie welcomes a curious journalist (Crudrup) into her house. He just wants to know the truth about what really happened in the days immediately following the tragic occurrence.
Alternating between serious and playful, Jackie goes through that grieving period in an unsentimental way. She brings up all the turmoil around the case - the devastating affliction caused by the loss, the scary autopsy and funeral, the last day in the White House, and a few relevant moments spent in the company of Bob Kennedy (Sarsgaard), her protective brother-in-law, Nancy Tuckerman (Greta Gerwig), the caring White House social secretary, and an understanding priest (Hurt) who helped her to regain balance.
The settings are decorated with gusto and an encouraging luminosity is present even in the darkest scenes. All these aspects enhance the absorbing production values.
With frequent close-ups that attempt to lock us inside the character's psyche and drawing a completely different tension, the first English-language feature from Larraín is occasionally blurred by a deviant narrative. However, it’s still a solid and interesting watch.
It became obvious to me that without Portman, “Jackie” would be at risk.