Jackie Review – Emotionally Riveting Performances Generate Oscar Buzz in this Historical Bio-Pic

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JACKIE, from FOX Searchlight Pictures and Jackie Productions, presents an emotionally riveting, raw, performance of the November 22, 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy as seen through the eyes of his formidable, traumatized, poised and devastated widow.

Directed by Pablo Larrain and written by Noah Oppenheim, JACKIE stars Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greata Gerwig, Bill Crudup, John Hurt, Richard E. Grant, Casper Phillipson, Beth Grant, John Carrpll Lynch, Max Casella, Sara Verhagen. JACKIE also stars Georgie Glen as Rose Kennedy, Julie Judd as Ethel Kennedy, Frederiquw Adler as Eunice Kennedy, Gaspard Koening as Ted Kennedy, and Barbara Foliot as Pat Kennedy and Sunnie Pelant as Caroline Kennedy and twins Aiden and Brody Weinberg as young John F. Kennedy, Jr.

JACKIE begins one week after the assassination that destroyed a nation and left the world stunned with Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy opening the door to her Hyannis, Massachusetts, home to a young journalist, played by Billy Crudup.

The two spend the day talking about the week that has passed and the events that stunned even the most jaded politician as horrific scenes unfolded and in what seems like micro seconds the world changed.

The film is predominately in memory as Jackie tells her story to the journalist who doesn’t placate or dumb her down. Hated by some, revered by others, all said she led the nation through the darkest moments of sorrow it had witnessed up to that time. With dignity and poise she helped the nation and world mourn freely and openly the loss of a great man.

Granted, the story does not attempt to cover the president's known philandering, even Jackie explains they rarely spent a night together even that last night in Dallas. Kennedy, it appeared, understood and exercised the full meaning of the perks of his office.  

As Jackie continues to open up she gives a painfully honest, sensitive and challenging interview after she establishes her terms, of final editorial control, to which he reluctantly agrees.

With that settled she begins, to explain the moments on Airforce One as they were deplaning in Dallas, she in her pink pillbox hat and iconic pink suit, the crowd enormous as they cheered, standing for hours in the hot sun, to greet the President. His chiseled good looks, charming Bostonian accent, virility, he was the hope for tomorrow and up for re-election and happy to shake hands and kiss babies.

Jackie hadn’t intended on traveling with Jack that day and the interview explores those feelings along with the what if’s that follow every tragedy. Her post traumatic stress is evident as she attempts to balance what people did, what she saw and the finality of what happened.

After a soft beginning, the interviewer moves to the more difficult, deep questions. 'What did the shot sound like?' initiated her revelations into the deeply hidden emotions of the car ride through the streets of Dallas. Our reporter also provides just enough of his own feelings as she continues to reveal intimate details of the quick change of government, the fight for a funeral befitting a president, her future, her past.

Jackie is emotionally riveting. The setting, a week later, in a safe place and safe distance from the Washington Political machine, allows for the flashbacks to work as Jackie walks through the memories of the day in Dallas, the aftermath, the swearing in of Lyndon Baines Johnson, played by John Carroll Lynch, the funeral arrangements. Bobby Kennedy, played by Peter Sarsgaard, remains the constant support and intercessor as Jackie remains as formidable, even more so, in Jack’s death as she was as First Lady.

Her lifelong personal assistant, and family friend, Nancy, played by Greata Gerwig is also featured prominently as the film walks through those early widely remembered moments that had every home in America glued to that newest medium, television, as Jackie, in her elegance and style, walked the world through the renovations of the White House.

JACKIE doesn’t shy away from the bickering and political infighting over the funeral, with more than 100 heads of state attending, not quite the quiet transfer of power some may have hoped. Mrs. Kennedy completed the finality of her duties as First Lady, the planning, staging and implementation of her husband, the President, a leader to the free world, the symbol of change, of hope, with aplomb.

Actual news coverage and footage lends to the authenticity of the events and film. As it is such a well-known, investigated and examined moment, the details, even the most minute, needed to be perfect and they are.

JACKIE is dramatic, compelling, and private. We, the audience, are given a rare glimpse into the life behind the persona, behind Camelot.

Led by Natalie Portman who disappears behind her portrayal, the performances of the entire cast, brings chilling realism, remaining faithful to the truth, the good moments and the deep, hurtful, personal, and intimate moments provide genuine legitimacy.

JACKIE is stunning, emotionally raw, and captivating. The film brings to the surface the hidden and lost emotions that remained covered and compartmentalized as they represent a deep devastating helplessness and loss, that cast an entire nation into Post Traumatic Stress, and altered lives, futures, and destinies.

JACKIE will be around during awards season with Ms. Portman’s performance sure to land her a her third Academy Award nomination and quite possibly the film also nominated for one of the year’s best.

JACKIE takes the viewer behind the scenes, to the days, the times, of Dallas November 1963 and follows bereaved Jacqueline as she prepares a funeral for a grief-stricken nation, for her husband. It is honest, and heartbreaking.

JACKIE opens December 2, 2016. Needless to say, it is a tear-jerker. See this film.

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