My Rating: 3 stars
I wasn’t really expecting to like this movie very much. And, I suppose in a sense, I didn’t. But, I didn’t dislike it as much as I was expecting. This movie doesn’t have much of a story. It’s about Jackie Kennedy, and the state of mind she was in in the hours and days after the assassination of her husband. So, I suppose it wasn’t really meant to be a narrative, but more of a representation of a waking nightmare. And, in that sense, the storytelling is a success. But, what I found most interesting about this movie was Nathalie Portman’s acting.
I’ve always found Nathalie Portman to be a very “specific” actor. (In the same way that Nicole Kidman is). When actors like this are miscast, the result is a stale, bloodless movie. But, if you manage to catch them in the narrow band in which they excel, you have a phenomenal performance on your hands. And, I think Nathalie Portman does excel at portraying dark, anxious, or self-inhibited characters. Her portrayal of the exquisitely mannered, painfully affected grace of Jackie Kennedy is an absolute success. I’m not saying that Portman’s personality reflects the same qualities as this over-polished and prim woman. It’s just that her acting skills are perfectly suited to portraying them.
As I mentioned already, there isn’t really much to this movie. But, it’s an excellent character study. I’m not actually very familiar with Jackie Kennedy’s persona. I’m not from the generation that really followed her pursuits. But, I think most people probably have some idea about her public image. It all seemed very coached—always giving the appropriate responses, wearing just the right things, speaking in that grand transatlantic accent. None of it seems very natural. But, maybe when you come from the fancy New England background that she did, you’re groomed to be something of a public figure. I actually have no idea. It’s an existence that’s utterly foreign to me. And, I suppose that’s where my interest in this movie comes from. It’s like watching zoo animals.
I think I would recommend this movie to people. It’s a bit strange, and not what I initially expected. But, I think it does some really interesting stuff. However, I wouldn’t go into the experience expecting too much.