A biographical drama about a woman everyone thought they knew, Chilean director Pablo Larraín manages to show that, behind the immaculate Chanel suits, the iconic First Lady was far more intertwined in political history than she was given credit for.
Set in the days immediately following her husband’s assassination, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963, we follow Jacqueline Kennedy as she fights through grief and trauma to regain her faith, console her children and define her husband’s historic legacy.
Although the film doesn’t cover much distance in terms of time it is enough to successfully convey the complex nature of a woman battling her public and private life. Beautifully balancing her different personalities for when she is in front and behind the camera, you learn that behind the icon is woman who has a greater knowledge of the inner workings of politics than she has been credited for.
Recognising that she was present in the beginning of the digital age she valued the importance of image, and was dedicated to ensure that how the President of the United States was portrayed was how the public wanted them to be seen. A belief that she stands by during the life and death of her husband as she aims to create his long standing legacy.
“You learn that behind the icon is woman who has a greater knowledge of the inner workings of politics than she has been credited for”
Driven by an immaculate performance by Natalie Portman, arguably the best of her career, she manages to fully immerse herself into the leading First Lady. Larraín’s decision to shoot in near constant close-ups, gave Portman no place to hide, and complemented by a crippling score by Mica Levi, ensuing an intensity and intimacy that is there to reflect the feeling of constantly being watched and on display.
The result, like Jackie’s intent behind her husband’s legacy, is a portrayal of a woman on screen that feels far more real than what we previously knew.
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