Movie Review – Jackie

Pablo Larraín gets under the skin of one of America’s most iconic and tragic political figures.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ½
Rhys Graeme-Drury

The Kennedy’s are one of America’s most tragic and enduring political legacies. In the past we’ve seen umpteen films and documentaries deconstruct the indelible events that took place in Dallas on November 22, 1963 – but almost all of these have focused on the man himself, rather than those around him.

Jackie, the first English language feature from Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín, instead switches its focus to JFK’s First Lady, Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman). His film is a churning vortex of trauma and isolation, a recount of that fateful week told out of order to exacerbate the feeling of chaos, shock and dread. It’s an unconventional biopic in the best way possible and Larraín’s haunting vision of America’s most infamous assassination is destined to swirl around your head for days afterward.

Plenty of actors can claim to have delivered an iconic performance, but after Jackie, Portman now has two such performances on her resume. Coupled with her transformative turn as a tormented ballerina in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan – which rightfully nabbed her a Best Actress Academy Award – Portman joins elite company alongside names like Cate Blanchett, Marion Cotillard and Amy Adams as one of her generations most talented and acclaimed actresses.

Like Black Swan, Jackie sees Portman totally immerse herself in her role. This is absolutely one of those instances where the actor becomes invisible and we only see the character they inhabit. The film would sink faster than a lead balloon in the hands of a lesser actress and Portman rises to the occasion to make this her film through and through. If it weren’t for the buzz surrounding Emma Stone and La La Land, Portman would already have one hand on that Best Actress statuette. While the film is all about Portman, the supporting cast are excellent also, Greta Gerwig and Billy Crudup providing wonderful additions in particular.

A gothic, nightmarish and moving piece that feels reminiscent of a Polanski, a Kubrick or even an Aronofsky (who serves as producer), Jackie is yet another showcase of Portman’s depth as an actress and a refreshingly unconventional biopic that stays with you long after the credits have finished rolling.

Jackie is available in Australian cinemas from January 12th

Image courtesy of EntertainmentOne Films

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