Nominated for an Academy Award for her role as the former First Lady, Natalie Portman beautifully portrays Jacqueline Kennedy with her grace, charm, and all the torment she went through during her brief time in Dallas and the following days. While plenty of artistic licenses went into the story, much of the facts are real. She did intentionally set out to cement her husband’s role in history and compare it to the hopeful and promising land of Camelot, where peace was becoming the way of life and everyone was looking forward to the future. Camelot was short-lived, as was the Kennedy administration. “Jackie” is the story of love and legacy.
Portman embodies the iconic woman with her voice, mannerisms, and charm, as well as the intelligence she had while personally forming her husband’s legacy. While still in shock from the assassination itself, Jackie Kennedy had to gather her wits to plan a funeral that she felt was a tribute to her husband.
After the funeral, Jackie called Life Magazine writer Theodore H. White to discuss her husband. This is when she deliberately created the Camelot myth that she likened to the Kennedy Administration. This element of the film is basically true, however many of the scenes have artistic license as the young widow goes about her tormented days figuring out what to do next and how to honor her husband.
Who can forget the image of the bloodstained pink suit? Wearing it off the plane when bringing her husband’s body back to Washington was a deliberate act, which is one of many realities that are played out in this film.
Besides Portman’s spot-on portrayal of the former First Lady, the film does a remarkable job of weaving together real footage with the production scenes. That element helps bring viewers into the film and gives them a sense of reality, although, as stated earlier, there was artistic license taken for many items.
On the whole, this is a film about the woman whose stamp on history is remarkable. She alone cemented the legacy of Camelot. She alone kept her husband’s legacy front and center by likening it to a time when anything was possible and the future was bright.
2017 marks the 100th birthday of John F. Kennedy. This film is a tribute to his wife, who became part of American history and her poise during the days after the assassination was admired around the world. As it says in the film, she helped the country get through a difficult time.
The bonus feature looks at the real people and the cast as they created their own version of the events surrounding those dark days in November 1963. Portman had plenty of books, audio recordings, and videos to research in order to not only understand Jackie, but also to portray her as realistically as possible. Which she definitely did.
“Jackie” is not a docudrama. It is a fictional story based primarily on facts.