Movie: Jackie

Watching the movie Jackie isn’t necessarily easy – but it’s certainly rewarding.

Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy.

Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy*.

Firstly there’s the chance to see some fantastic acting performances led by Natalie Portman as former First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy.

Then there’s the opportunity to relive one of the most tumultuous times in American history – the assassination of President J.F. Kennedy.

JFK (Casper Phillipson) and Jackie (Natalie Portman) arrive in Dallas.

JFK (Casper Phillipson) and Jackie (Natalie Portman) arrive in Dallas.

The movie features a mixture of historical footage and fictional recreations to tell of Jackie’s private life in the very traumatic days following her husband’s assassination.

There’s his killing, the flight out of Dallas when Lyndon Johnson takes the oath as the new President, the pink dress and pillbox hat she finally sheds to shower away her husband’s blood. Then there’s her breaking the news to their two young children, dealing with moving out of what was really her only home, the White House, and organising a funeral march which she wants to rival Abraham Lincoln’s.

Jackie (Natalie Porttman) the journalist (Billy Crudup) who interviews her.

Jackie (Natalie Porttman) with the journalist (Billy Crudup) who interviews her.

An interview with a journalist (Billy Crudup) a week after the assassination underpins much of the movie. While the journalist isn’t named, Life’s magazine Theodore White conducted an interview with Jackie at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.

We also see her interactions with a number of important people in her life, including social secretary Nancy Tuckerman (Greta Gerwig), brother-in-law Bobby Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard) and the man who pulls real truth from her about her life and marriage – elderly priest, Father McSorley (John Hurt).

Jackie (Natalie Portman) in her bedroom at the White House.

Jackie (Natalie Portman) in her bedroom at the White House.

Through these interviews and her actions we see a woman who is emotionally and physically shattered, but still amazingly resilient. While heartbroken, she’s never a pushover and knows exactly how she wants her husband to be remembered.

While Jackie’s personal actions and reactions are all fictional, the historical footage provides a fascinating snapshot of the time. This footage includes the Dallas motorcade, Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn in to the Presidency on Air Force One, JFK’s grand state funeral  and the 1962 television show, “A Tour of the White House with Mrs. John F. Kennedy”.  The show was broadcast on Valentine’s Day and seen by more than 56 million viewers.

Jackie (Natalie Portman) with her children and brother in law Bobby Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard).

Jackie (Natalie Portman), her children and brother in law Bobby Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard) leave the White House for the funeral.

It’s this footage – together with the recreation of the 1960’s era – including many of Jackie’s iconic outfits and Portman’s brilliant portrayal of a woman experiencing unbearable grief, anger, confusion and determination which makes this movie unforgettable.

Jackie is currently showing in cinemas.

*All images supplied by Entertainment One Films Australia.

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