My dad was always a huge admirer of John F. Kennedy, and that was a major part of my fascination with his death (and the film masterpiece that is JFK). One thing I always wondered was what about his wife? I mean, she was there, so how come no one actually talked to her? That answer is clear in Jackie.
I will make it bluntly clear: Natalie Portman is phenomenal in the title role. She will clearly be nominated for Best Actress, and it would not surprise me if she wins. She brings depth, humanity, pathos, and grit to the former first lady.
We meet her being interviewed with a journalist (Billy Crudup), one week after the events of which no one of that time would forget. My main issue with the movie is the way it does tend to jump around between different times in the story, making the movie a little bit inconsistent. There are scenes with her and Bobby Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard), her helper and friend Nancy Tuckerman (Greta Gerwig), and a priest (the always valuable John Hurt). All actors do good work when with Portman (who is in virtually every scene), but the order of them made me scratch my head a bit.
Parents, the R rating is mainly for swearing and violence (Director Pablo Larrain does not let the gruesome details go unseen of the assassination), and there are a few swears including some uses of the F word. Still, I would think High Schoolers and up would be ok with the film (even a mature middle schooler, perhaps).
If anything, this movie is worth seeing mainly for Natalie Portman’s performance, clearly one of the years best. As stated in the picture above, she is Jackie Kennedy, a woman who managed to keep a wonderful smile going in the harshest of moments our country ever faced.
Overall: Four Stars ****