So, I did my Top Ten Movies of 2016 last night, thinking that I’d seen every movie that I would see this year. I was mistaken, it seems. Had I done my list today, something would have to be bumped off that list to make room for this movie.
Jackie tells the story of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (Natalie Portman) in the minutes, hours, and days following the assassination of John F Kennedy (Caspar Phillipson) on November 22, 1963. It’s done in the form of an interview she’s having with a reporter played by Billy Crudup (Almost Famous) with glimpses into the famous television special she did in 1961 showcasing the White House.
As a movie buff I’ve long known the difference between movies, and cinema. Movies entertain you, distract you for a few hours, let you live vicariously through the lives of other, far more heroic or daring individuals. Cinema…films, they make you feel, and think. Every shot by the camera, every note of the musical score tells you something into the thought process of the characters, whether they be fictional or in this case all too real. And this is, a film.
Everything about this film I fell in love with, from the fantastic performances by the cast. Natalie Portman does a pitch perfect Jackie performance, range that you could not tell she had in her Star Wars performances. We also get a good supporting role from her Garden State co-star Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby Kennedy. The cinematography by Stephane Fontaine was breathtaking as well, just in the placing of the camera and positioning of it spoke much into the emotion Jackie was feeling both internally and externally during those days.
Director Pablo Lorrain (Naruda) directed one fine film here, which speaks a lot of legacy, as Jackie wonders what will be remembered of her husband, and herself in the long run, as she carefully constructs the narrative herself that will be told in the days to come, whether that actually happened or not is beside the point. As she says in the movie, it’s about what’s written down that gets remembered and then becomes the truth, regardless of what actually happened.
What they’ve managed to do is to bring back that exact look, and feel of the time period as well, with the mixing of both the real footage of events and the mixing in of the actors, not unlike Forrest Gump, but it really brought the history to life. And that’s one of the greatest things about cinema, it can make what’s happened in the past live again for new generations of eyes to see it, and feel it, and remember it. Even more powerful than creating new worlds to life it allows the past to always be remembered.
The movie is up for a few awards in the coming awards season, and it is a film that is decidedly deserving of them. It’s a movie that should be seen, by lovers of good cinema, great acting, and history as well.
Final Grade- A