There have been four U.S. presidents that have been assassinated while in office, but today, while we still live among a generation that asks ‘Where were you when Kennedy was shot?”, none have shaped our lives more than the 1963 death of JFK. Of course when any head of state dies the world is thrown into political, economical and security chaos while the dust settles and then we move on - it’s easy to forget that whomever dies was in fact a person and a family member. New leaders are sworn in and policies enacted, while behind the scenes a grieving family is neglected or directed for an ever-watching world. Just one week after the tragic assassination of JFK, his grieving widow Jackie sat down with Life magazine writer Theodore H. White to tell her story, or more importantly the story she wanted told - comparing his time in office to a modern day Camelot.
SWITCH: 'JACKIE' TRAILER
Natalie Portman won her first Oscar in 2011 for ‘Black Swan’ and is possibly well on her way to a second for her nothing short of a superb performance of Jacqueline Kennedy. Structured around said Life interview with White (Billy Crudup), this film bounces around the time of Kennedy’s death to the time of the interview, where we can marvel at the difference a day or even an hour can make in Jackie’s life and demeanour. We all know what happened during that time, but it’s the portrayal of the small, private moments that really sets ‘Jackie’ apart. We see her preparing herself to deplane after the shooting, still wearing that pink suit covered in John’s blood. Arguing with staffers over the grand scale and spectacle wanted for the funeral, a funeral intended to rival Lincoln’s. And then there’s the private moments in the residence where Jackie drinks to numb the pain, chain smokes and drunkenly parades around the rooms listening to the Camelot soundtrack. She also struggles with the uncertainly of her future, her place in the world after being John’s wife and first lady for so long, and of course the burden of raising two small children by herself and ensuring their father’s legacy.
Nothing short of superb performance of Jacqueline Kennedy.
Directed by Pablo Larrain, this is not a glamorous film. Despite being one of the most revered figures of the 20th century, make no mistake, these tight 95 minutes showcase a scared and vulnerable woman putting on a brave face. The pictures are dull and kinetic, highlighting the Camelot verses reality, making it a little tough to digest but all the more impactful for it. Unfortunately due to the constant time jumps and the vast difference between them, the fact that the film takes place in a mere week gets a little lost. But this is Natalie’s show and she dominates. Portman embodies Jackie 100 per cent. There have been many big and small screen incarnations of Jackie O, but after this it will be tough for anyone else to fill those Chanel suits.