POTENTIAL SPOILERS AHEAD
Biopics are always an interesting topic for filmmakers to tackle. It raises some important questions such as, how subjective can they make the subject material? Is the material be defaming? Over the years there have been many biopics produced from Straight Outta Compton, Legend and The Program to name a few. However I believe Jackie is one of the better ones to come out and here is why.
With the plot summary from IMDB Jackie is about “Following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children, and define her husband’s historic legacy.” The film stars Natalie Portman (V for Vendetta, Leon), Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead, Flightplan), Greta Gerwig(Francis Ha, Mistress America) and Billy Crudup(Almost Famous, Watchmen) and it’s directed by Pablo Larrain (Tony Manero,The Club)
This film is a very character driven movie and the story takes a backseat. Natalie Portman embodies the character of Jackie perfectly and I would not be surprised if she is nominated and wins the Oscar. Her performance is so haunting and heart breaking as she goes through the grieving process. Additionally Portman really captures Jackie’s class and elegancy. I am pleased that Natalie Portman brought her A game, as she often blows hot and cold. One moment she is putting in fantastic performances such as Black Swan or Knights of Cups. And the next moment she phones in performances such as Thor and Your Highness, it is great to see her care about a project and really shine. I must add that I tip my hat to the shot choices used in the film. By putting her in the centre of the screen, it makes her performance stand out even more. Additionally the supporting cast do a fantastic job, especially Peter Sarsgaard. He does a great job as Robert Kennedy and has a gravitas to the role being Jackie’s rock at her darkest time. Again it would not surprise me if he gets nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar.
I should make a special mention for the production design of the film and costumes. The costume and art department team had a big job bringing the interiors of the White House and Jackie’s wardrobe to life. One of my favourite parts of the film is the well-designed and sophisticated costumes that Jackie wore. Little details like that elevate the film to more prestigious status. Little details like that can really make or break your film. I loved the authenticity that they created making it a beautiful film to look at and it really captured the 1960s and the inside of the White House.
What I didn’t like about the movie was that they showed the assassination and it felt out of place and slightly crass. I think they should not have veered away and just stuck with the before and aftermath of the shooting to show the contrast of Jackie’s emotions and thought process. Likewise keeping the focus on her. Furthermore I would have liked them to explore more of Jackie’s life such as her re-marrying and other tragedies that struck her family.
Overall I would rate this film as a Must See in the Cinema, just for Natalie Portman’s performance alone. It’s just so melancholy and unforgettable. However I must warn audience members that it’s a bit of a slow burn and gloomy and it will leave you informed but slightly sorrowful.