Stand by your man

Christine Powley finds the latest film about Jackie Kennedy a rather long 90 minutes.


Director: Pablo Larrain
Cast: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Richard E. Grant, Casper Phillipson, Beth Grant, John Carroll Lynch, Max Casella
Rating: (M) 
One and a half stars (out of five)

I used to buy glossy American magazine Vanity Fair but I gave up on it because I became sick of reading an endless stream of articles about the Kennedys.

So I went to Jackie  feeling I knew all this already.  Unfortunately, nothing the film did shook me out of my complacency. 

Natalie Portman does a startled fawn impersonation as Jackie and has a brave but misguided stab at that little-girl voice but it all remains pure surface. 

This is supposed to get behind the mask and show how she single-handedly manufactured the image of her husband’s presidency as some sort of Camelot. The facts are all there but Portman is just mouthing the lines. The intelligence that was at work is missing.

Fortunately, Jackie is a short film but even at 90 minutes it felt slow and padded out. The time frame is essentially from the assassination through to the week of the funeral arrangements.

Jackie does a lot of night-time drinking and day-time fretting over giving her husband a send off to rival Lincoln’s, which surprise, surprise, is actually not that interesting to watch.

Maybe if you are a Kennedy obsessive you will be riveted, but when I saw it there was a lot of fidgeting and yawning going on and not just from me. 

By the end, the movie I really wanted to watch was "Jackie: The Onassis Years". Now that could be dynamite.

- Christine Powley

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