Stars: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Caspar Phillipson, Sunnie Pelant, Richard E. Grant, Max Casella, John Carroll Lynch, Beth Grant, Aiden & Brody Weinberg.
Director: Pablo Larraín
Screenplay: Noah Oppenheim
What can you say after watching a masterpiece. I cannot fault anything about this film other than the slight Portman accent that you can sometimes hear at the end of a sentence. That's it, there is nothing else. This is a film that I only heard real praise for its use of score (not to say that people have not loved this film but this is all that I have heard), and they are very correct the use of music throughout this film in such poignant moments of trauma and emotion is staggering.
Jackie takes place over seven days after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy (played by Caspar Phillipson) in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Jackie (Natalie Portman) was by her husbands side while he was shot in the skull in an open car. The movie takes us through Jackie's final days in the White House, planning his funeral, and comforting her children through this hard time all the while being hounded by the press, members of staff, and the Kennedy family. We meet Jackie on the seventh day as a journalist (Billy Crudup) meets with her to discuss the events of the past week. Jackie though open to tell her story quickly informs him that she will certainly be editing their discussion to tell the story she wants to tell.
This is Portman's finest work. She becomes Jackie and I believe her in everything she presents on screen. I believe that she is going through this horror, this moment in history. Not only is Portman amazing here but so are her co-stars with Peter Sarsgaard playing Bobby Kennedy and Greta Gerwig playing Nancy Tuckerman. This is an acting powerhouse in every sense of the word, they bring to life the events of that week with so much gravity it feels that it is taking place right now, not 50 years ago. The intensity from Saragaard against Gerwig's supportive subtlety creates a beautiful balance for Portman's Jackie. She has two people who care so much for her and her husband in such different yet valid ways.
Larraín may have directed the best reveal of the entire year. It is not a reveal of a villain, a man behind a curtain, or the end of a magic trick. It is a reveal that builds so slowly that you don't realise that you have missed it until it appears on screen; that being Jackie's entire pink suit that she wore in the car with JFK. It is so intentional for us to be held back from seeing her complete form that entire day and when we finally see her blood stained skirt it struck me so deep inside I don't know how to explain it.
This is a masterpiece in direction, acting, cinematography by Stéphane Fontaine, score, costuming, and set design. If this does not win a bucketload of oscars this season I will be flabbergasted.