Jackie is an psychological portrait of Jacqueline Kennedy by Chilean director Pablo Larrain. Natalie Portman stars. The movie opened to wide critical aclaim on December 2, 2016.
The film is a fictionalized version of Jackie’s story during and just after the assasination of her husband President John F. Kennedy. It frames Jackie’s memories through an actual interview she did one week after the assassination with Theodore H. White for Life magazine.
Larrain takes the point of view that history is written by the survivors. Jackie has to process unimaginable pain, maintain her parental and public composure, and set her and her husband’s story into history, all in a very short time.
Screenwriter Noah Oppenheim balances the curated frivolity of a 1962 TV special A Tour of the White House With Mrs. John F. Kennedy with intensely personal, but imagined, moments of processing loss.
Natalie Portman manages to crawl inside the character and express intricate shades of both wildly abandoned feeling and tightly managed composure. She really captures the essense of the Jackie we knew. People of a certain age may feel like they are seeing that history again. Critics are calling for an Oscar nod.
You have to give Larrain credit. Perhaps as a Latin American, he understands better than most that history really is a story. A lot of what really happened, isn’t what we are later taught in school.
If you have ever suffered a deep personal loss, you know the truth of what Jackie calls, “the great divide between what people believe and what I know to be real.” Larrain and Portman’s Jackie is about both.
About Pablo Larrain
Pablo Larrain was born in 1976 in Santiago, Chile. He is known for Tony Manero (2008) about disco and No (2012) about winning a Chilean election against the odds. Jackie is Larrain’s first English-language film. He also has Neruda opening this December.