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Jackie is a historical drama that is centered on Jacqueline "Jackie" Kennedy ((Natalie Portman) and how she handled the aftermath of the tragic assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy (Caspar Phillipson). The film is produced by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, Noah), Juan de Dios Larrain (No, The 33), and Mickey Liddell (The Zookeeper's Wife, Go). It was nominated for three Oscars (including Best Actress for Portman).
Jackie delivers a unique approach to telling a biographical story. The focus of the film is on the days following the assassination of President Kennedy. The film is told entirely from the perspective of Jackie. Most of the story is explored through an interview Jackie had with a Journalist (Billy Crudup), who conducted the interview following the assassination. The film focuses upon her struggles with grief, trauma, and trying to raise her children while fighting to maintain John F. Kennedy's legacy following his death. The film presents her as being a tough and intelligent individual who is largely responsible for preserving the Kennedy legacy.
As Jackie deals with the aftermath of the assassination she must speak with Bobby Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard), the younger brother of John F. Kennedy (who also worked in politics). She also continues to work with the white house secretary Nancy Tuckerman (Greta Gerwig), who ended up becoming a personal secretary to Jackie following the assassination. Jackie also speaks to a compassionate Priest (John Hurt) whom she seeks advice from. The priest offers guidance to Jackie when she needs it most. Hurt, in his final film before his passing, delivers an exceptional supporting performance.
Natalie Portman, in one of her career-best roles, delivers an exceptional performance as Jackie. Portman delivers a tour-de-force performance which brings to life the first lady in a way never before seen in film. Her performance is one of great complexity. Portman gives a humanistic performance which explores the multiple sides of Jackie: her personality as seen by the media and her vulnerable but strong personal side following the tragic loss of her husband.
Jackie is a meticulously well-produced film that features an absorbing production design by Jean Rabasse (The City of Lost Children, The Dreamers). The effort brings to life the White House and the 1963 time-period elegantly. The cinematography by Stephane Fontaine (A Prophet, Captain Fantastic) is stunning and gives the film a rich, colorful, and vivid style befitting the story.
The costumes designed by Madeline Fontaine (Amelie, A Very Long Engagement) are stunning and are easily some of the best in any film this year. The original score composed by Mica Levi (Under the Skin) is haunting and unforgettable, giving the film a stunning, horror-like musical approach which effectively conveys the grief and trauma experienced by Jackie.
The screenplay was written by Noah Oppenheim (The Maze Runner). The story is well told and covers a lot of ground while focusing on Jackie Kennedy. Despite a long development process, the film could not feel more timely or more relevant than it is today. Jackie asks big questions about the nature of politics and of humanity. It gives a strong sense of the history of the white house and of the significance of the people who have inhabited it throughout time.
Pablo Larrain (Neruda, No) directs the film with an elegance and grace befitting the story of Jackie Kennedy. The film is compassionate without being overly sentimental. It's a beautifully directed film which is one of the best pictures of the year. Jackie is a great ode to a strong, independent, intelligent, and graceful woman who held great importance in her role in the history-making of the White House.
Jackie arrives on Blu-ray with a stunning 1080p MPEG-4 AVC encoded presentation. This is a beautiful presentation of the film with amazing color reproduction, depth, and clarity. The film has excellent cinematography well presented on this release. The film has a quality encoding with a high bit-rate. Fans will certainly be impressed by the quality of the release.
The audio is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. This is an engaging sound design with a impressive original score. The music is haunting and beautiful. It fits the storytelling perfectly.
Subtitles are provided in English SDH (for the deaf and hard of hearing), Spanish, and French.
Please Note: This is a Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD UV Combo Pack release.
From Jackie to Camelot (22 min., HD) is a making-of featurette featuring interviews with cast and crew members, including director Pablo Larrain, screenwriter Noah Oppenheim, producer Darren Aronofsky, and star Natalie Portman.
Jackie is an absorbing film with a remarkable performance by Natalie Portman. It's one of the most engrossing and thought provoking films of the year. It's worth seeking out for its unique approach to historical storytelling. With a strong script written by Noah Oppenheim and the elegant direction of Pablo Larrain, Jackie is an emotionally-rewarding film of uncommon strength.
Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.