Watched with my sister. Rewatch with someone interested like Mom. 3/25/17
In his English language debut, director Pablo Larrain delves deep into psyche of Jackie Onassis, showing a woman, known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, teetering on the brink as she fights to hold amid the horror of losing her husband and subsequent turmoil at the White House.
Larrain gathered together some impeccable talents to bring Jackie to life, including costume designer Madeline Fontaine who wonderfully recreated Jackie's trademark outfits, production designer Jean Rabasse who is near perfect in his recreations of the White House interiors and composer Mica Levi whose accompanying beautiful haunting and powerfully sparse score provides a melancholy pulse for the film.
Natalie Portman is spellbinding in Larrain's stunning portrayal giving the performance of a lifetime. Her Jackie is scattered, tense and wrecked, but defiant in the face of those who would prefer she hide away and grieve quietly.
The supporting cast is highly impressive, including Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby Kennedy, Greta Gerwig as loyal aide Nancy Tuckerman, Billy Crudup as a journalist writing a profile of the President for Time magazine and the late John Hurt as a priest attempting to guide JFK's widow through the worst of her black thoughts. But still this is Portman's film, which is no mere biopic but a fascinating study of a person whom history has transformed into an icon.
I know nothing about the authenticity of this work but the movie looks good and it's always interesting to see the human side of the great historical figures. On this count, Jackie" delivers. All the doubts, fear, frailty and pettiness you can watch, and then some.
Portman gives a sharp nuanced performance and has a strong physical screen presence, especially for a widow broken down in grief and fear for the future.
There are a lot of good actors involved, including Billy Crudup, Peter Sarsgaard as RFK, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Richard E. Grant and John Carroll Lynch as Lyndon Johnson.
But don't expect a strong ensemble movie, it's all about Jackie. Everybody else falls to the sidelines, ready to serve or interact when the main character when screenplay says so. But the acting's impressive enough all around.
So, everything good so far. But somehow.. the whole result is not. Sorry to put it bluntly but it felt boring as fuck. All Oscar-hunt and no soul.
This is the most boring "good movie" I have watched since... well, two weeks or so, when I saw Martin Scorsese's "Silence".
The 99 minute movie feels much longer, mostly because of its pompous style and no readiness to delve deep into any of the characters, or the experience of being human in general, which the story is actually about.
The only time I really felt the experience truly coming alive for a moment was near the end, thanks to the great late John Hurt as priest councelling the First Lady.
Jackie" was nominated for 120 movie awards and won 53, mostly for Portman's acting work but some for music or costumes. There were one Golden Globe (Portman) and three Oscar (Portman, costumes, music) nominations but zero wins.
Portman gives a sharp and nuanced performance, worthy of all her awards, although I would have given Oscar to Isabelle Huppert in Elle", for even more exciting role. But the real winner was Emma Stone in La La Land" of course. You know, just saying.
"Jackie" is the kind of project which makes you doubt yourself as a movie lover. You see all the quality work on screen and wonder why actually you're not liking it more. It must be you, right, not being able to cherish all the good movies, right?
Well, no. All the competent acting or dark and ominous atmosphere inspired by Malick, Aronofsky or Shyamalan can't compensate for a movie having no soul.
So, where's the soul? Who knows. You can't always stay on the path with the heart just because you would like to. It goes to screenwriters and moviemakers too.