Sometimes, you need to see something to realize how obvious it should have been. Of course if you wanted to do a fresh take on the Kennedy assassination, you should do it from Jackie’s point of view. Of course, if you want an A-list actress who can play glamorous, fragile, and upper class in one stroke, who else but Natalie Portman?
So on paper, ‘Jackie’ was already a great idea; the execution of the idea pretty much comes through. Portman is aces as the First Lady; she nails the light, finishing school accent that was part of the public’s image of the future Mrs. Onassis. This is the story of the film as well: immediately after the assassination, Jackie Kennedy tosses back every suggestion, some genuine, some condescending, to ‘take her children and disappear’. At least not until she plays a major role in assuring her husband’s (fairly short) time as President of the United States goes down in history.
Portman and the screenplay both do an excellent job of reminding us: this woman had to be under an extraordinary amount of stress. She was sitting right next to her husband when his head is literally blown off; she’s suddenly a single mother of two very young children, and by the way she happens to be one of the most famous women in the world.
‘Jackie’ is a really powerful film, and my gut says it’s Portman’s best overall performance. Worthy of its spot in the awards season conversation.