Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Cast: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Richard E. Grant, Casper Phillipson, Beth Grant, John Carroll Lynch, Max Casella, Sara Verhagen, Hélène Kuhn, Deborah Findlay, Corey Johnson, Aiden O’ Hare, Ralph Brown, David Caves, Penny Downie, Georgie Glen, Julie Judd, Peter Hudson, John Paval, Bill Dunn, Vivienne Vernes, Craig Sechler, Rebecca Compton, David DeBoy, Stéphane Höhn, Serge Onteniete, Emmanuel Herault, Gaspard Koenig.
Should we hope that we never know the fear of being children to a slain King, that unlike the United States of America we never know in the media or digital age what it is like to see a father or mother of the nation assassinated before our eyes, that the polarising moment, that split second, is never triggered. A King dies, a President is slain and yet the wheels continue and the stage management finds a way to still be controlled; such was the final days of Camelot, the self styled court based on Arthurian Legend of President Kennedy and given the final rites of honour by the first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.
The stories of the man are legend in themselves, of the whole Kennedy family and yet who wouldn’t still think of America has having the possibility of Jack or Robert Kennedy in charge of the so called most powerful nation on Earth, who wouldn’t have the demure and kindness of Jackie in the Whitehouse. The stories are man, yet in all that time and especially in the modern age, there is so little shown about the woman who pushed the confidence of the slain King, who was a master herself at press manipulation and was able to carry the burden of her husband’s office and his private demons to the point where she was and arguably so, thought of as one of finest of all the first ladies to inhabit the title in the history of the country.
Jackie though looks deeper, perhaps not as deep as some would wish or hope, but deep enough to understand the way she was able to make sure the story was how she wanted it to be presented, manipulation certainly, but enough to carry the thought of her husband’s time in the Oval Office as being one of glory. It is the tale of the moments preceding her husband’s assassination and the time just after the funeral, the procession of the fallen King and it one that is as carefully managed and wonderfully alive as the truth of that small but vitally important period in the United States of America’s history.
Not only does Natalie Portman ooze the panache afforded to the former debutant but she imbibes her character perfectly, the sheer magnitude of the force of history that forced itself upon her soul is etched upon the actor’s face to the point of astonishing beauty. With Peter Sarsgaard performing an absolute stunning portrayal of Bobby Kennedy and Billy Crudup as the audience’s go between as the journalist sent to cover the true feelings of the grieving widow, this is a film in which the J.F.K. myth, honourable truth is extended and given a shy but powerful shot of femininity and strength that otherwise would have been left out of history altogether.
A decently acted, fantastically approached film, Jackie is a moment of cinematic interpretation of a story we all loved.
Ian D. Hall