Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Film Review: "Jackie" (2016).

"I want them to see what they have done to Jack."
This is the tragedy known as Jackie. This biographical drama film directed by Pablo Larraín and written by Noah Oppenheim. The film is a portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, then Jacqueline Kennedy. It places us in her world during the days immediately following her husband's assassination. Known for her extraordinary dignity and poise, here we see a portrait of the First Lady as she fights to establish her husband's legacy and the world of "Camelot" that she created and loved so well.

The film's script, written by Noah Oppenheim, and was featured on The Black List of 2010. It was originally conceived as an HBO miniseries and covers the "four days between John F. Kennedy's assassination and his burial, showing Jackie at both her most vulnerable and her most graceful." In April 2010, it was announced that Rachel Weisz would star in the titular role, with Darren Aronofsky set to direct and produce the film from Oppenheim's script. However, Weisz dropped out of the project after her split from Aronofsky. Aronofsky dropped out of directing but remained as producer. In September 2012, Fox Searchlight Pictures started courting Natalie Portman to star in the film. In February 2015, Pablo Larraín was approached by Aronofsky to direct the film. Larraín was initially hesitant to direct one when he was offered the opportunity. Ultimately, Larraín would only accept if Portman would agree to star. Portman ultimately agreed to star and thus Larraín accepted the director's chair. By October 2015, the film was finally given the green light and the rest of the cast were signed on. In preparation for the role, Portman studied Jackie extensively by reading books, listening to audiotapes of her interviews and repeatedly watching videos of her, especially the White House tour recordings. However, the biggest challenge for Portman was mimicking Jackie's ranging vocals, because "conquering Kennedy's vocals was the key to the rest of the film." Principal photography on the film took place over a swift 23-day shooting schedule which began in December 2015 in a Paris-area studio where most of the interior scenes were shot. The production then moved to downtown Washington, D.C., where JFK's funeral procession scenes were filmed. When it came time to shooting Portman's scenes, Larraín estimates that a third of the shots in the film were the first take.

The film features an ensemble cast that includes Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, Richard E. Grant, John Carroll Lynch and John Hurt. The cast gave solid performances, especially Portman. Who gives the performance of her career. Her reflective, powerfully solid performance fills this film with potency and purpose.

Gut-wrenching and emotionally affecting, Larraín's Jackie stands out thanks to its unusual approach and its strong performances from a great ensemble led by Portman. The film conveys a strong portrait of the inner complexities and contradictions of the extraordinarily fragile but dignified wife of the 35th President of the United States.

Simon says Jackie receives:

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