Jackie
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Jackie

President of the United States is considered one of the most powerful men in the world were responsible for making decisions that will not only affect hundreds of thousands of people living within the country have repercussions for billions of human beings. The number of books written about each of the 45 men which held this position can fill the shelves of a substantial library. Far less attention has focused on their wives. Many first ladies have made a lasting impact on our society. Abigail Adams, the wife of John Adams the second president, was exceptionally intelligent and well-read serving as one of his closest and most trusted advisors. The wife of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Eleanor, became an outspoken advocate for a variety of serious social issues. In more recent years one First Lady has captured the attention of the public far more than any of her predecessors or successors ever could, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, affectionately known to the world as Jackie. It only fits that that should be the name of the movie that examines the life of this extraordinary woman she was born into a family of wealth and privilege, would become a trendsetter in the highest echelon of fashion. Jackie Kennedy was below of the matter social status they occupied. Possessed of elegance that they could’ve carried her down the runways of fashion week, she was still able to exude a quality that the common man to her. As the queen of a new age of politics controlled by people born within that century to the screen of the Camelot husband created. All the photographs that have taken of Mrs. Kennedy there is one that has remained in the collective consciousness of regeneration. On November 22, 1963, an assassin murdered Pres. John F. Kennedy. The picture of Jackie Kennedy lunged over the trunk of their limousine, apparently reaching for a fragment of a husband skull. As the world cried, Mrs. Kennedy demonstrated thinkable grace under one of the most stressful situations any person could face. This eponymous film examines how life as First Lady when she assumed the position of First Lady to how she coped with life after the tragic loss of a husband.

The opening of the movie goes beyond establishing the subject film; it also provides a credentialed material. The movie opens in the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts. Jacqueline Kennedy (Natalie Portman) is shown during an interview with a man known only within the context of the movie as The Journalist (Billy Crudup), taking place a short time after the assassination. The actual interview was conducted by Theodore H. White' for Life magazine. Mr. White was a well-respected journalist honing his craft as a war correspondent and then, during peacetime, moving on to a different manifestation of combat, politics. His series of novels, ‘The Making of the President’ remains the definitive dissection of their respective elections. However, the usual caveat remains intact. This film is not a documentary and about how closely the filmmaker attempted to stay faithful to the facts numerous occasions of the dramatic license infused in the screenplay. Although that administration had come to be known by the term, Camelot, it is shown that this time within these interviews with Mrs. Kennedy. The historical background of the film allow some the initial questions directed to Mrs. Kennedy to reveal she was glad that she was able to be with her husband during those painful last moments. The Journalist mentions how impressed he was with grace and poise during the now famous the White House she gave on the CBS television network a few years prior providing a segue for the film’s first flashback. There was a civility to the exchange that somehow such mutual respect is forgotten the modern style conducting an interview. During that tour of the White House, despite 56 million Americans, and Mrs. Kennedy explained that her family’s personal money would be used for the restoration of the White House, not one dime of the taxpayer’s money would be used to support the project. There was much of this film that is historically accurate but assumes an entirely different meaning from a contemporary analysis. From our vantage point in time, we have just witnessed an election cycle for the media played this portion it will result in the perception of the candidates by the constituency. The Kennedys, both John, and Jacqueline will discuss first political figures to realize just how important new media outlets such as television would be connecting with the public. For President Kennedy, that moment came in his historic debate with Richard Nixon. Jacqueline Kennedy for the White House significantly contributed to the demystification of that historic structure and to humanize the family inhabiting it.

Normally, flashbacks of the tendency to become tedious and distracting, especially when overly utilized. Director Pablo Larraín can use the structure provided by an ongoing interview to utilize flashbacks in entertaining and exceptionally entertaining fashion. Considered by many to be the best director in Chile the narrative style he creates remarkably consistent that despite the constant ships in the historical vantage point, but rather to a significant part because of it. Making this feed quite remarkable is the fact that this is his first film prepared directly for an American audience. Even into the project with a firmly crafted concept of how the story was told. The one condition that he insisted upon was that Natalie Portman would play the titular role. He felt that she had the air of mystery combined with the elegance and deportment required to do justice to Jacqueline Kennedy. Ms. Portman slips so effortlessly into this role that frequently during my experiencing the film I was so mesmerized that I forgot it was a portrayal. I was very young during the Kennedy administration, but I do remember being impressed with how she carried herself in the aftermath of the assassination.

This is a film that showcases a myriad of extraordinary performances. John Carroll Lynch’s presentation of as Lyndon Johnson and Beth Grant pursuing the role of Lady Bird, there certainly captured the essence of two of the period‘s most interesting couple briefly before they would take up residence in the White House. Peter Sarsgaard gave one of the most extraordinary performances it is a presentation of Robert Kennedy. I was quite grateful that the casting director did not insist on a physical similarity as the crucial criteria for casting the role. What Mr. Sarsgaard lacks in physical similarities in more than makes up for in the intensity of his performance and his ability to capture the epitome of this man. As a long time cinephile, one of my favorite pieces of trivia concerning the transition of power after the assassination was the famous photograph of Lyndon Johnson being sworn in as President all aboard Air Force One. Among the select few in attendence, there was one man seen sitting the corner among the trusted advisors present for that moment this occasion was Jack Valenti (Max Casella) what are the founders of the modCurrent MPAA and the principle author of the current film rating system. I realize that this is a small detail, but historically based drama such as this owes its success or failure such minutiae.

Rising above the amazing achievements of re-creating this time in history that so many of us remember, with such accuracy is to transport the viewer back in time to an age that juxtaposed and social change the elegance and idealism that created a shining moment in history. Like many fans, I have greatly admired the substantial talent of Ms. Portman since she was a child actress. Right from the start, her nacsent abilities were evident. In her debut, ‘Léon: The Professional,' it was impossible not to be impressed by the substancial control and range this young girl exhibited. As her career continued to progress the particulars of the role eemed inconsequential. It didn’t seem to matter what demands the part presented. Ms. Portman consistently gave her best to the character. Regardless of whether the performance required intense concentration and attention to detail such as ‘The Black Swan or that she contend professionally with the notoriously ill-conceived dialogue as she faced in ‘Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith,' she never gave less than her best work. This dedication to the constant upward progression of her craft and responsibility she felt for giving her best work to the audience, Ms. Portman possesses a rare gift, er make the embodiment of her noble profession. Within this film, she takes the audience on an emotional journey of such depth and precision that regardless of how often you experience this movie you will discover nuances that retain the freshness of the story.

Posted 03/02/2017

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