Natalie Portman certainly gives herself over to the fraught and fragile emotional state of the semi-heroine character she plays in JACKIE, the second of the fantasia-type biopics that director Pablo Larraín has given us within the space of a couple of weeks (his other is Neruda, a tale of Chilean poet/politician Pablo Neruda). Ms Portman, Señor Larraín and screenwriter Noah Oppenheim (shown below) have conspired to give us an imagined time in the life of the legendary Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis that takes place during an interview with a journalist some time after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, who was at her side when he was killed in Dallas in November of 1963.
John Carroll Lynch, center, right, above, with the great Beth Grant, center left, doing honors as Lady Bird). Among the many flashbacks are those with the local priest (a fine John Hurt) who counsels our heroine with, if not the usual cliches, still a bunch of religious/philosophical musings that will not exactly blow your mind.
Greta Gerwig). And of course the assassination itself, which we come back to a time or two, to add some pizzazz to the proceedings.
Darren Aronofsky, who pulled out all the stops and then invented a couple of new ones for Black Swan. Of course that won Portman her Oscar. I suspect that Jackie will prove a little too measured and even a tad too negative to garner Portman a second award. In terms of Larraín's work, this movie does not come up to the level of his Neruda, perhaps because of how deeply and well this Chilean director knows and understands that subject and personage. With Jackie, he seems to be relying more on conventional history, "imagined" though it may be.
Fox Searchlight and running 100 minutes -- after premiering in New York and Los Angeles a week or so back, opens across the country today, Wednesday, December 21. Here in South Florida you can find it in nearly one dozen theaters. Elsewhere? Sure. Simply click here and, if your local theaters don't pop right up, enter your zip code to find the nearest location.