A New Film about Jacqueline Kennedy

by Henry Wong

The new film, Jackie, directed by Chilean director, Pablo Larraín, and starring Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy, opens in theaters December 2, 2016. The movie is the first English-speaking movie directed by Pablo Larraín. Theodore H. White, a journalist with Life magazine, interviewed the First Lady in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, a week after President Kennedy’s death in 1963 and the movie focuses on this period of her life. This interview was apparently four hours long and allowed Jacqueline Kennedy to create the Camelot myth of the Kennedys that has lasted to this day. The movie stays away from the many scandals that plagued the Kennedy family. The movie does use some original footage of historical events and blends them into the movie. It has been rated R because of intense blood-filled gun violence.

Natalie Portman researched the role of Jackie Kennedy and in doing so was able to gain deeper insight into who Kennedy was. Portman only knew her as a fashion icon at first but got to know her public and private personas, even learning about the different public and private tones of her voice. Portman worked with a voice coach to help her mimic the First Lady’s soft, feminine public voice versus her deeper, witty private voice. Portman follows a long list of actresses like Jaclyn Smith and Roma Downey that have portrayed Jackie Kennedy in the past.

The movie has generally gotten good ratings. Rotten Tomatoes has rated it “Certified Fresh” at 88% based on 56 reviews that gave it an average 8/10 rating and says that “Jackie offers an alluring peek into a beloved American public figure’s private world — and an enthralling starring performance from Natalie Portman in the bargain.” According to Metacritic, the film gets a score of 82 out of 100, after being rated by 25 critics. Jackie Kennedy, being so well-known, was a challenging and complex person to portray and Portman’s rendition of her is getting Oscar buzz. A trip to the movies may just be worth it.

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