For Reel

Jackie (2016)
February 12, 2017, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Pablo Larraín
3.5 Stars
jackieJackie is an unusual biopic in that it is about the constructed historical legacy of someone other than the film’s subject. In the wake of her husband’s death, Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman) must make arrangements for a funeral that will cement his legacy among the greatest presidents—her motivations for doing so are left intentionally vague, arising out of a sense of duty and adherence to structure and finally developing into something perhaps more complex. The film makes an interesting double feature with Neruda, Pablo Larraín’s other major release last year, in that each film concerns itself with public image and not necessarily truth Larraín’s relationship with the truth seems both cynical and honest—that is, does truth lie in a tangible reality, or is it constructed from memory and the necessity of creating a personal narrative out of chaos? If Neruda was almost mythical in scope, Jackie is conversely hermetic, mostly staying close to Jackie. The major plot developments involve her coping processes more than they do exterior forces. Jackie’s ever-changing strategies for the funeral and Portman’s tightly-wound, nervous performance give the film’s dealings with grief a terrific rawness, and Mica Levi’s unorthodox score accents the sense of emotional disorder that follows in the wake of horrifying trauma.

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