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Friday, October 28, 2016

Jackie (2016)

In 1963 shortly after the assassination of her husband (Caspar Phillipson), Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman) gives an interview to a reporter (Billy Crudup) for LIFE magazine reflecting on the death of her husband, his legacy, her legacy while we look at the period between the assassination and his funeral and her state of mind. Directed by Pablo Larrain, a Chilean director making his English language debut. It's difficult to assess this as cinema, as a film because it is so dominated by a single performance that defines the film and puts everything else in her shadow. The buzz on Portman's performance was very good but I was not prepared for the sheer brilliance of it. When playing real people who are known to the public, it can be a trap to do an imitation of the person rather than inhabiting them. Portman inhabits Jackie Kennedy. How accurate is the film? I don't know, I don't go to the movies for history lessons (and I hope no one else does either). It's clear that the film took artistic license. For example, one of the highlights of the film is a distraught Jackie listening to the cast album of CAMELOT while trying on different dresses and jewelry and wandering around an empty White House when obviously it would be filled with staffers and secret service during that period. Mica Levi's underscore is the best film score I've heard all year. With Peter Sarsgaard as Robert Kennedy, Greta Gerwig, John Hurt, Richard E. Grant, Max Casella, John Carroll Lynch and Beth Grant as Lyndon and Ladybird Johnson.

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