America’s Camelot Princess – Our Review of Jackie, the Movie
Jackie is a biopic about First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, wife to the late President of the United States, John F. Kennedy.
The movie depicts one of the most shocking assassinations in American history and the turbulent week that follows for the newly widowed Jackie.
Jackie must deal with the traumatic events of her husband’s assassination, organise his funeral, vacate her home in The White House and try to determine how history will remember her husband’s legacy, all this while trying to console her two young children.
The film bases itself on an imagined interview between a journalist and Jackie some time after JFK’s funeral. Scenes cut back and forth in time as we begin to form a picture of both the private mother and wife and the public figure. There are some skilfully recreated scenes from a highly-publicized television appearance of her restoration of the White House. In these scenes we are shown of this most elegant woman, a fashion icon and the closest America has ever come to having its own fairy tale princess.
Alas, something that is too good to be true couldn’t be a more fitting commentary for the life of Jackie Kennedy. We witness the stress of Jackie perfecting her smile and speech and the effort she puts into her role as First Lady in those same White House tour scenes. Combine publicity with the overwhelming grief that we observe in contrasting scenes and Jackie quickly becomes a fairy tale that you know has no happy ever after ending. Nevertheless, it is powerfully moving to watch Jackie’s private grief played out on the public stage of American politics.
It would be criminal not to mention Natalie Portman’s name in this post as the movie belongs to the actress and her portrayal of Jackie. Portman’s imitation of Jackie’s posh-Boston, slightly breathy accent is executed to perfection, and the way she carries the iconic pink Chanel suit and other assortments of fabulous blazers and statement jewellery make her all the more convincing as Jackie. However, it is her facial expressions and body language accentuated with plenty of close-ups that really bring the performance home.
Portman channels the same unsettling blend of fragility, fear and ambition that won her an Oscar for Black Swan and was therefore the perfect casting choice. She carries the movie almost singlehandedly bar a small supporting cast. Peter Sarsgaard plays kind and incredibly understanding and Bobby Kennedy in his best performance to date while Greta Gerwig takes on the role of Nancy Tuckerman, Jackie’s seemingly only friend and confidant.
WATCH A TEASER
Jackie’s ambition was the perhaps the most unsettling part of her character. For someone who appeared so broken and grief-stricken out of the public gaze, Jackie’s insistence on the full pageantry for her husband’s funeral seemed overly demanding – on all involved but especially on herself. As the journalist put it “From an outsider’s point of view, I can assure you, it was nothing short of a spectacle.”
Given her own affluent upbringing and the glamorous life she had become accustomed to in the White House, perhaps Jackie lost touch with what was real and what was a performance. Her awareness of the persona she had created was often evident throughout the film, “I’m not the First Lady anymore. I lost Jack somewhere. I was real. That was performance.” Even at the end of the film she admits to a priest, and to herself, that she welcomed the audience’s gaze at the funeral and that it wasn’t for Jack but for her.
However, the fairy tale that surrounded the Kennedy’s was never lost on the American public. The Kennedy years are to this day described as the ‘Camelot years’, named after the Broadway production Camelot about a kingdom ruled by the mythical King Arthur. The film ends with Jackie pronouncing on the young Kennedys’ place in American history: “People like to believe in fairy tales. Don’t let it be forgot that for one brief shining moment there was a Camelot. There won’t be another Camelot. Not another Camelot.”
Here in the EziBuy office, it was the fashion that we will be writing home about. Jackie gives us a glimpse into the famous wardrobe of Mrs Kennedy, and we are not disappointed. Jackie embodied 60’s chic. The streamline suit cuts, the elegant shift dresses for day wear and the gorgeous evening dresses paired with pearls speak of pedigree and elegance.
From off-duty looks to formal wear, we are so in love with Jackie’s fashion from the film that we have put together our own Jackie edition edit. Here’s hoping that we may emulate Jackie in both style and grace.
Have you seen the movie? What did you think of it? Let us know in the comments below.