Behind the scenes intimacy does little to illuminate
A dull character study of First Lady Jackie Kennedy that does little to provide any insight into the aftermath of her husband’s death. Director Pablo Lorraine was hoping to lift the veil to one woman’s personal struggle admist a nation’s mourning; but instead we get 90+ minutes of Natalie Portman bouncing between lifeless shock and awe following her husband’s assassination; and defiant vanity in an attempt to rewrite her husband’s legacy. The dichotomy of Jackie’s personality was confusing at best, and felt like a gossip column at worst. Was Jackie Kennedy the strong-willed woman who boldly wore clothes stained in her husband’s blood? Or was she the helpless mother who needed to ask her assistance how to speak to her own children? Neither seems right, and comes off feeling judgmental without providing new understanding for the viewer.
Natalie Portman looks the park, and is helped in large part by pitch-perfect set and costume design. Portman’s choice in accent is authentic but wildly distracting to a contemporary audience not familiar with the First Lady. Supporting roles from Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby Kennedy (a man mourning both his brother and his family’s fractured legacy) and John Hurt as Father Richard McSorley (gravel-toned and intense as he provides perspective to the new widow) are the only respite from this flat story.
- Acting: 7/10 – Toned-down realism requiring a patient audience
- Set & Costume Design: 9/10 – Authentic and convincing
- Cinematography: 5/10 – Relied too heavily on ultra-close framing
- Screenwriting: 2/10 – The story lacks detectable purpose
5/10, While a convincing and authentic recreation of events; mundane and lifeless without discernible point.