A mesmerizing performance by Natalie Portman as Jackie
Kennedy, reflecting on loss while building the Camelot myth in the weeks
following President John Kennedy's (Caspar Phillipson) 1963 assassination, is
mixed in with overwrought monologues and not-quite-accurate history. Director
Pablo Larrain and screenwriter Noah Oppenheim focus on how Jackie created her
own legend by virtually dictating a story about her husband's last days to Life
magazine reporter Theodore H. White (Billy Crudup). They strengthen their drama
with an expertly created mix of archival footage into which Portman is
inserted. Catholic viewers will find Jackie's conversations with an unnamed
priest (John Hurt) — a composite of at least two real-life clergymen who are
known to have counseled the first lady — of particular interest while the
filmmakers' attention to detail and willingness to show grief honestly will appeal
to adults more generally.
Watch out for: An explicit,
gory portrayal of assassination, at least one use of rough language.
Rated: A-III, adults; MPAA: