Jackie online movie review - Creepy, or just detached?
This film shows a Jackie Kennedy that we did not know. While there is nothing revealed of which we weren't already aware, albeit in fits and starts over the years, assembling it all as "Jackie" does is certainly a fresh approach.
One must decide if we are watching a dissection or a hit job, for in many ways, it is not flattering. Natalie Portman's acting chops are well displayed. Her portrayal is certainly not a mirror image. She actually looks less like Jackie than many of the actresses who have preceded her. But since many other actors in the film only vaguely resemble their actual characters, a look-alike image was probably not intended. Her voice suggests Jackie's very unique sound and speech pattern, but it is not the same. Again, probably not intended to be. The film's scenario covers the week following the President's assassination with strategic flashbacks interspersed. It is difficult to discern whether the actual dialogue can be confirmed, or if it has simply been re-imagined with some degree of hoped-for accuracy. Director Pablo Larrain is Chilean. Reportedly, he speaks little English. This isn't necessarily a handicap, but it certainly could make for some very unusual choices - Among them: Vice-President Lyndon Johnson was surely not the hapless bystander that he is portrayed here; Attorney General Bobby Kennedy did not defer so eloquently to Jackie (we know that from several sources; they didn't even like each other very much); the Kennedy children couldn't possibly have been so detached from the proceedings. The script may have allowed for that interpretation, but the director would have needed to secure it. And where were the rest of the Kennedy clan? They barely appear in the film, and this is not at all like them. Writer Noah Oppenheim's two previous scripts - Allegiant and The Maze Runner - are nothing like Jackie. It had been on the Hollywood Black List (well-regarded screenplays which can't seem to get a green-light) as early as 2010. Darren Aronofsky, to direct and/or produce, had been attached early on; he is hardly a mainstream choice. Portman herself had been approached as early 2012. (Rachel Weisz, the earlier choice, dropped out when she and Aronofsky split up.) She wouldn't even commit until knowing who would direct. Larrain was chosen even though he didn't like doing bio-pics and had no experience as a women's director, to say nothing about never having directed an American film. Aronofsky stayed on as the producer. The main interiors were shot on a soundstage in Paris. The designers and crew mostly Europeans. In short, Jackie is a non-traditional package -- and it comes off that way. It is beautifully done in exquisite detail. Virtually nothing is out of place. The score, from Mica Levi whose previous film credits are eerie, makes a very intense statement. And it is relentless. As a bio-pic, Jackie is an outlying member of the Jacqueline Kennedy canon. As a mainstream film, it is unsettling... even creepy. It will be interesting to see how the Kennedy partisans receive it. My guess is.. not well.