JACKIE (2016) movie review

JACKIE Kennedy Onassis, fashion guru and lifestyle trendsetter influenced a nation with her quiet, proud posture of grace. Yet she endured what few could have, holding her murdered husband as he died and the million griefs that that sudden shock brought to her family, her situation, and her name in the days and years following – all under daily public scrutiny. She suffered silently even before he died. In many ways, her struggle is underplayed in historical accounts. We rarely think of the assassination from her perspective. This film offers insight expertly shown by Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Jackie’s aimless pacing of empty state rooms, her endless dress and undress. This also sets audiences up for the fateful day when she chooses not to change out of her bloody pink suit until she is finally alone to grieve. The film follows two interviews in tandem, one with a reporter and one with a priest. One a decision, the other a confession. One in staunch stance, holding demure position and poise, refusing to sensationalize. The other emotionally asking how God could allow her every level of suffering. After JFK’s death, Jackie chose to honor her husband’s memory and position by leading the country in grief as she did in fashion. When anyone dies, we unconsciously customize their memory. We eulogize their beauties, skills, and strengths, remembering them for all of their best qualities. Despite their flaws in life, we glorify them in death.Jackie orchestrated a hero’s send off in favor of patriotic symbolism and in so doing, strengthened a country. Her dignity set the tone for the whole world to grieve. This film shows her internal tension and culminates as she explains the line from her husband’s favorite play, “for one shining moment, there was a Camelot.”

Bio pics run the Oscar syndicate, two favorites are: JACKIE (2016) & JUDY (2019). (Stay tuned for Judy review!)  Unsung and yet beloved, the reputations of both of these two icons remain somehow untarnished despite the tragedy, conspiracy, intrigue, and raw reality of their stories.


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