Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Jackie is portrayed by an elegant Natalie Portman

Movie Title:   Jackie

Grade:  B-

Rating:  R, 95 minutes

In a Nutshell:  This interesting look into the life of Jackie Kennedy features a stunning Natalie Portman, who deserves the Golden Globe nomination she received for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture.  She has just been nominated for an Oscar.

The opening sad musical notes create a tale of sorrow and prepare you for the dreary story about to unfold.   

The assassination of John F. Kennedy has fascinated generations of Americans.  That fateful day and the aftermath from the perspective of Jackie is mesmerizing and depressing, offering commentary on American culture in the 1960’s..

Uplifting theme: 
  • Tradition is strength.
  • “Perfect people can’t change.  Jack was always getting better, stronger.” – Jackie
  • “People need their history.  It gives them strength.” – Priest (John Hurt)
  • “We all live on, far after our deaths. Presidents will come and go and every one of them will look up to Jack for guidance, for inspiration.” - Jackie
  • "The darkness won't go away, but it won't always be this heavy." - The Priest

Things I liked:
  • You get to see some old footage.  Director Pablo Larrain also creates portions of the film to look like old footage.  Nice touch.
  • Peter Sarsgaard plays Robert Kennedy with Beth Grant as Ladybird Johnson.
  • Billy Crudup plays The Journalist who treads carefully with his questions to this delicate, strong First Lady as she reels from her husband’s assassination.
  • The way Jackie explained her husband’s death to their children was touching.
  • The Camelot scene was very well done.
  • The conversations Jackie had with her priest were vulnerable and honest, allowing us to peek into her true psyche and inner struggles.
  • You really feel like you're in the 1960's. The set design was very well done.

Things I didn’t like:
  • There is a graphic moment when you see President Kennedy’s head get shot.  You can see the gruesome video footage of the actual moment on YouTube.
  • The movie is a bit morbid with no humor to help you recover from the overwhelming sadness.
  • There isn't a lot of creative directing with interesting camera work.  It feels, probably intentionally, more like a documentary.
  • Despite Jackie's elegance and beauty, the film feels a bit drab and grey.  Again, that's probably intentional to help us feel the cloud of sorrow during those dark days.

Interesting lines:
  • “The more I read, the more I wonder: when something is written down, does that make it true?” – Jackie
  • “We have television now.  At least people can see with their own eyes.” – Jackie
  • “For royalty, you need tradition and for tradition, you need time.” – Jackie
  • “How do I do this?” - Jackie
“It doesn’t matter what you say.  Just hug them and tell them it will be ok.” – Nancy Tuckerman (Greta Gerwig)
  • “A First Lady must always be ready to pack her suitcases.  It’s inevitable.” – Jackie
  • “There are two kinds of women: those who have power in the world and those who have power in bed.” – Jackie
  • “I lost track of it somehow, what was real and what was performance.” – Jackie
  • “History is harsh.” – Robert Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard)
  •  "People like to believe in fairy tales." - Jackie

Tips for parents: 
  • Two F-bombs.
  • Some bloody scenes.
  • Children will be bored out of their minds.  Older kids who are history buffs might be interested.

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