I hadn’t heard about Jackie before I noticed it in the list
of films at the cinema. I had been looking to see if Loving
was out and came across this.
This review won’t really be spoilery, but obviously if you want to
go into the film completely blank I’d skip out now. Just know it’s
a really well done film on a tough topic.
The film is disconcerting at first because Natalie Portman’s acting
is so artificial. A reviewer I repect didn’t quite get this
and had to see the film a second time. I figured it out pretty
quickly, but still suspect I’d get something out of a second or
The film covers the well known JFK assassination but entirely from
the perspective of Jackie Kennedy. An historical event that has up
to now always been told from the perspective of the men involved.
The complexity of Jackie Kennedy’s position wasn’t covered in
previous films but is here. She had to present an image and had to
deal with public reactions. As a public figure but also as a person.
I’ve always found the role of First Lady odd - there’s an expectation
that a President’s wife has to do things and then she’s judged
rather harshly when she does things.
Natalie Portman portrays this brilliantly. The oddness of this
position in such a horrific situation is artificial and strange.
How she navigates this emotionally and officially is heart-wrenching
and inspiring. She is a human being approaching a complex situation
that just keeps pouring onto her.
One thing it really highlighted to me is how frustrating it is to
not see more women’s stories in film. And when I finally did catch
Loving I thought the same thing. Jackie is well crafted and if not
enjoyable, it is satisfying. You walk away imagining what it would
be like to be Jackie - tied up in history, tragedy and an odd form
of celebrity. Natalie Portman’s humanising performance cuts through
all that and pulls you in. This is a well-trod topic and yet the
story was unknown because her story was overlooked.
Hoping Portman brings the same intensity into the Ruth Bader Ginsburg
film “On the Basis of Sex.”