To say this is not a conventional biopic is the understatement of the year. Yet it is the kind of performance Oscar voters fall for. It’s a shame that this isn’t a better movie. Portman, although decent in the role, plays this character like a wackadoodle, wreck of a person. And that’s even before the assassination.
We know that in the mid-90s, Jackie died without ever talking about the actual incident in the motorcade. The movie starts with a reporter (Billy Crudup) asking about it, and it seemed like a decent place to start. This is loosely based on Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Theodore H. White speaking with her in 1963. The movie then delves into nonlinear flashbacks.
It’s a rather dull affair, watching Jackie make funeral arrangements, or speaking awkwardly to her kids. Robert Kennedy is played by the usually terrific Peter Sarsgaard. He’s awful in the role, and it doesn’t help that he looks nothing like Robert Kennedy.
The era is captured well, but I found I didn’t learn anything new about Jackie. Oh wait…she liked her cigarettes.
I felt director Pablo Larrain (Neruda, Gloria, No) and screenwriter Noah Oppenheim (The Maze Runner, Allegiant) were also rather presumptuous. There were also a few things that stuck out as rather inaccurate for the era. For example, we’ve all heard about how the media covered up JFK’s affairs, or didn’t reveal FDR was in a wheelchair. Yet the journalist in this movie has no qualms about asking rather probing questions.
The musical score was also a bit off-putting. Even more odd the two different times we hear Camelot being played.
The film is boring and the whole thing just felt off a bit.
It is slightly better than the 2013 Holly Hunter movie of the same name.
This also stars Greta Gerwig, John Hurt, Max Casella, and Beth Grant as Ladybird.
1 ½ stars out of 5.