• James Rutherford

'Jackie': An Intimate, Compelling Depiction of Historical Tragedy and Grief


Movie poster for the film Jackie starring Natalie Portman

"Jackie" (2016) is an intimate portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman) in the days following the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, in November of 1963.


The film delivers a candid, behind-the-scenes glimpse into those harrowing days following JFK’s death, as Jackie struggles to come to grips with the reality of his passing, his impending funeral, and the realization that she would soon be forced to vacate the home that she had put so much heart into. Portman delivers an utterly searing performance in the role of a woman so famously poised and outwardly mannered, even while trembling inwardly in the face of her terrifying new reality.


The storyline alternates between moments of strength and fragility, while weaving in fragments of a frank, telling conversation with a journalist (Billy Crudup) several weeks later. Portman does an exceptional job of not simply impersonating Jackie, but fully embodying here in this role—capturing her accent, mannerisms and persona in spellbinding fashion.


Credit to the partnership between director Pablo Larraín ("The Club", "Neruda"), producer Darren Aronofsky ("Black Swan", "Mother!") and writer Noah Oppenheim ("The Maze Runner", "Allegiant") for capturing the difficult, emotional aftermath of such a tragic event so astutely and accurately. It's a remarkably concise glimpse into a very specific place-in-time in American history.

 

View the trailer: