Dir: Pablo Larrain
Written by: Noah Oppenheim
Cinematography by: Stéphane Fontaine
Edited by: Sebastián Sepúlveda
Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup
From the minute this film begins, you are overcome with the beauty of the cinematography by Stéphane Fontaine and the score by (the amazing) Mica Levi. It starts out, a black screen, and then cue the score, loud, dramatic, and perfectly fitting throughout the film. A beautifully edited and moving account of Jackie Kennedy as she arranges for the funeral of her recently assassinated husband, and president of the United States, John F. Kennedy. With one of the best acting performances of the year, if not of all time, Natalie Portman dives deep into the emotions as she plays Jackie, creating a tense yet realistic portrayal of one of the most iconic first ladies of all time.
One of my top 3 favourite movies of 2016, if not my #1 favourite. Natalie Portman also gave my favourite performance of the year, with one of my favourite scores of all time. So many aspects of this film were both beautiful yet heartbreaking, and so many scenes stand out as memorable to me. The intensity and raw emotion in the scene of Jackie crying into the mirror on the plane after the assassination, as she wipes blood off her face is incredible. The acting created one of the most intense scenes in a movie that I have recently seen. I saw this film twice, and both time I was overtaken by Natalie Portman’s talent, in that scene especially.
Moving on from the acting, the cinematography of many scenes was also something that I am still obsessing over. The fog in the cemetary, the black veil as Jackie walks down the street, when she walks through the white house in her many formal outfits. It takes a lot of talent to be able to create such an intense emotion just in the cinematography alone, and Stéphane Fontaine was able to do that. The journey of Jackie was so well portrayed and every emotion was so clealy shown thanks to the amazing work of Fontaine. There was also the different perspective of the assassination scene that differs from what the public would have seen in news reels of the actual event. By showing it through Jackie’s eyes and through the shots of the secret service guy on the back of the car. The centering on Jackie in almost every scene was an amazing choice for this film and it all came together perfectly as they filmed on 16mm and it did not seem choppy when switching between the movie and the archived shots.
Lastly, the costumes were amazingly detailed and a very big part of the story, with the film ending on the impact of Jackie and specifically being viewed as a fashion icon, which my mother would agree too, as thats what she mentionned she remembered Jackie’s outfits even after the decades that have passed. It is clear that a lot of focus is put on the clothes, especially as Jackie is usually framed in the center. The attention to detail in the costumes by Madeline Fontaine, and the production design in general was spectacular, everything pieced together so well and was beautiful to look at.
It really is a shame that Jackie got such a small release in Canada, Its only in about 4 or 5 theaters in the country (3 cities), I am lucky enough to have it in 2 theaters in Toronto and did get to see it twice, but I know my mom is quite jealous that she can’t go and see it back where I’m from in the maritimes. If you can get to a theatre that is showing it, definitely do so.