A very focussed slice of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy’s life over a non-linear two week period around the assassination and subsequent burial of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Natalie Portman embodies the First Lady with ice cold efficiency and is rarely off-screen – either we see her in close-up (a lot), or we look over her shoulder as she wanders The White House in grief. She is delicate yet fierce, in shock yet in control. The funeral arrangements, in which Jackie effectively orchestrates the JFK myth for eternity, are told via a framing device of an interview a week after the funeral. The journalist (unnamed, played by Billy Crudup) visits the Kennedy home with the intention of getting the exclusive story of the assassination, but Jackie makes it clear that he will leave with the story that she wants to tell and no other.
This is where we discover how important her decisions were in sealing the legend at a time when she was engulfed in such personal grief, most of us would be unable to function at a basic level.
Understandably Jackie is not a warm, lovable character. We wouldn’t expect her to be under such circumstances. But I did feel a distinct distance which prevented me from fully engaging with her. I guess that’s what she would have wanted.
In the end it kind of does tell the story that Jackie might have intended to tell, but I’m not sure that Jackie would have been happy with the way in which it got there.