I once brushed against her knees. The reviews have been glowing and Natalie Portman (as Jackie Kennedy) is considered the frontrunner for the Best Actress Oscar. What more did I need?
Ultimately, a can of Red Bull.
JACKIE is a meticulous film. And that’s a compliment the same way “he has good posture” is. But let me back up.
First off, you can skip the first five minutes. It’s just vanity production logos. There must be eight of them.
Once the film actually starts, Natalie Portman is amazing. You find yourself totally focused on her performance. The voice, the mannerisms – you’re in Meryl Streep country here. And that holds your interest for three or four minutes. But then you start settling into the narrative and in another three or four minutes you realize “this is slow.” Not just “slow” but “slowwwwwwwwwwwwwww.” The most entertaining part of the movie so far has been the vanity cards.
Larrain does pay attention to detail. We see almost moment by moment how Mrs. Kennedy copes with that excruciating weekend when JFK was shot in 1963. But never did I feel really engrossed. Every beat was so mannered, so… meticulous.
I realize part of the problem was the movie just did not meet my expectations. I was anticipating a film about her life, and instead it was primarily centered on the events of that horrific weekend. Having lived through it at the time I didn’t relish revisiting the nightmare… in slow motion. Meanwhile, I wonder if young people who were not alive at the time were able to get the full impact of how unbearable that weekend was from this film. Maybe they did. I don’t know how many of them were even curious enough to see it.
And the music didn’t help. The score consisted essentially of two parts: A four or five note dirge played over and over again, or a three or four note creepy-scary stanza that played over and over when the dirge wasn’t blaring.
The overall package was a cold, distant, “art film.” But many critics were effusive. So it could be that it’s a great movie that I just didn't get. I hated CAROL last year for the same reason.
If I had one takeaway from JACKIE it was how different the country was back then. An entire nation mourned a beloved president, regardless of politics, religions, states, or economic status. At the time we mourned for him. Now I mourn for us.
Tomorrow: My review of LA LA LAND.