Movie Review: JACKIE

Academy award winning actress Natalie Portman stars in a new movie about former First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, in a new movie simply called JACKIE. Her performance is so good it may win her a second Oscar.

The movie is a potent exploration of the complicated person behind the  iconic image of Jacqueline Kennedy during the week following President John F. Kennedy's tragic assassination in November, 1963.

The publicity for the movie describes it as a "psychodrama" rather than a biography, because it focuses on Jackie's grief, anger, and confusion as well as her steely resolve to create a lasting legacy for her murdered husband.

When the Kennedy's arrived in Dallas on November 22, 1963, they were on top of the world. But a few hours later, an assassin's bullets changed everything.

But even though she was in a state of shock, the devastated Jackie refused to be told what to do. She would not take off the suit that was spattered with her husband's blood.

Lady Bird Johnson: Can I send someone to help you change?

Jackie: Let them see what they've done.

A week after her husband's murder, she meets with a Life Magazine reporter played by Billy Crudup, and she insists on approval of every line he writes.

Jackie: You afraid I'm about to cry?

Reporter: No, I'd say you're more likely to scream.

Jackie: Scream what?

Reporter: My husband was  great man.

He's right. It was Jackie who created the myth that compared the Kennedys' time in power to the legendary King Arthur's Camelot, which had been turned into a popular Broadway musical.

Jackie: Maybe, that's what they'll believe now. For one brief shining moment, there was a Camelot.

During this time Jackie was in agony. We see many shots of her alone in the White House: confused, grieving, distraught.

But she does what she can to cement her husband's legacy. In spite of opposition from nearly everyone around her, she decides to walk with her children beside his casket on the way to the funeral ceremony.

Jackie: I will march with Jack. Alone if necessary.

The  procession she arranges is modeled on President Lincoln's funeral march. And for those of us who were alive back then, several images from the live telecast of that procession are unforgettable.

The script for JACKIE is based mainly on research, but some of it was made up. Still, this masterful portrait of the First Lady's complex mix of strength and vulnerability feels painfully real.

Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now.    thunter@hawaii.rr.com