Jackie

Director: Pablo Larraín

Talent: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, John Hurt

Released: 20th January

Set during the immediate aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Jackie, the English-language debut of Chilean director Pablo Larraín, follows the iconic First Lady — Natalie Portman in her best, most complex performance to date — as she struggles to secure her husband’s place in history, while also dealing with the great personal trauma she herself has suffered and her feelings of resentment over the sudden and violent end to their time in the White House.

Here is a film that manages to have its cake and eat it. On the one hand, it is a forensic deconstruction of the Great Man view of history, as Jackie, very much aware that her political power will cease to exist once JFK is buried, orchestrates a funeral fit for a king and later goes on to eulogise the idea of Camelot in the Life magazine interview that frames the story. On the other, it is almost unspeakably moving, never once forgetting the human cost of these events and somehow compelling you to mourn for the very myth debunked in its brisk, ninety-minute running time. Essential viewing.

Words – Felipe Deakin

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