Jackie is a biographical drama directed by Pablo Larraín and stars Peter Sarsgaard, Billy Crudup, John Hurt and Natalie Portman who herself plays Jackie Kennedy, the wife of President John F. Kennedy (JFK). The story of the film focuses on Jackie Kennedy’s life in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of her husband in 1963.
My Knowledge and Expectation of Jackie
Natalie Portman’s performance as Jackie Kennedy has received a lot of praise from critics and she is even nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars. This was the main reason why I wanted to see this film in addition to my interest in the assassination of JFK but, admittedly, I heard a lot of mixed opinions about the film which tempered my expectations about how good the film would be. Usually, when I go into a film with low or balanced expectations, I come out of the film pleasantly surprised and liking it much more than I thought I would.
My Thoughts on Jackie
This was not the case with Jackie. While I do like parts of this film, I found this film to be boring and really overbearing, particularly with the score which I thought was awful. Truly, the bombastic nature of the music in Jackie was completely wrong and clashed with the sombre tone of the film.
I also thought that Peter Sarsgaard was completely miscast as Bobby Kennedy. I did not buy him as JFK’s brother at all and that was a real shame because, apart from Sarsgaard, I thought the acting in this film was good. Certainly, Portman, while a bit over-the-top at times, was good in the iconic role of Jackie Kennedy and I thought the scenes between her and John Hurt were the most interesting scenes of the film.
However, I feel that a big part of why I liked the scenes with John Hurt above all the rest was down to the fact that I saw Jackie a day or so after he tragically passed away and it was really nice to see him in this film. Still, why I concede that I may be biased towards these scenes because of my sad feelings towards the death of John Hurt, they did give Jackie Kennedy depth as a character in this film.
Nevertheless, this does not compensate for the major problems I have with Jackie in terms of its awful score which clashes with the tone of the film. It just added to an overbearing film with a poor casting choice for Bobby Kennedy and an occasional over-the-top but nevertheless good performance by Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy. While I enjoyed some scenes, Jackie was a bit of a slog to get through and it is not something I shall revisit.