Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Jackie (2016) - 7 stars out of 10

Jackie (2016) - 7 stars out of 10

“Jackie” tackles one of the largest political tragedies in modern American history: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  It examines the tragedy from the perspective of First Lady Jackie Kennedy, who had to pull herself together and deal with the grief of losing her husband while remaining in the national spotlight.  I did not know much about Mrs. Kennedy before seeing the film so it was interesting to get to know her demeanor and the public’s opinion of her through this portrayal.  Natalie Portman is magnificent in the titular role.  The entire film is her and I don't know how she managed to pull off that voice from start to finish.  The script sets her up for some amazing tear-filled moments and she hits a realism that we don't always encounter in a biopic.  That being said, I don't know that I see her winning the Oscar for Best Actress with this role.  I had an unrealistically high expectation for her performance and something major was lacking.  She as an individual was amazing but I didn't see much chemistry with the supporting cast.  The rest of the actors simply can’t keep up with Portman’s multifaceted character.  The film is also nominated in the Best Costume Design category.  The period costumes are typical Oscar bait and the iconic pink Chanel outfit that she wore on the day of the assassination provides enough (unfortunately sad) nostalgia that the nomination is no surprise.  I didn’t care for the musical score by Mica Levi at all.  Instead of a sweeping, romanticized musical theme that enhances the climactic moments of the film, the atonal score is tied together by a thematic violin glissando.  The orchestration is very thin and atypical of the scores that we usually see nominated for the Best Original Score Oscar.  Stravinski would be proud but I’m surprised that it caught the Academy’s ear.  It is difficult to rate “Jackie” because I would give Portman a 10 and the rest of the production a 5.  I’m going to put my rating right in the middle but warn you that when watching this film, you are watching solely for Portman and the costumes as the rest of the slow-moving film has little to offer.

[Pictured: Portman hits some powerful chords in this retelling of the days that followed the JFK Assassination]

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