Jackie: "I Will March With Jack, Alone If Necessary"

Director: Pablo Larrain
Writer:    Noah Oppenheim
Starring: Natalie Portman
                Peter Sarsgaard 
                Greta Gerwig
                Billy Crudup
                John Hurt
                John Carroll Lynch
                Max Casella
                Beth Grant
                Richard E. Grant
Rating:    ****

Release Date: Out Now

The assassination of John F. Kennedy is a moment in history that will forever be remembered. The footage of his wife Jackie scrambling onto the back of he car and the hysteria that ensued is forever in my mind. It is a story that has been told before, even from the perspective of his killer, Lee Harvey Oswald. However, a story that has rarely been told is how his wife, Jackie Kennedy dealt with life immediately after the president's death, and from then onwards.

John Hurt & Natalie Portman
Natalie Portman is challenged with portraying the first lady, and it is a performance unlike any other. I have not seen an actress completely transform herself to an unrecognisable level since Meryl Streep portrayed Margaret Thatcher. Portman has clearly studied Jackie Kennedy down to the finest detail, taking on her posture, mannerisms and voice with an unflinching confidence. I won't call it an imitation or an impression of the former FLOTUS, but rather a complete transformation, and one that needs to be seen to be believed.

Beyond her impeccable pastiche, Portman has taken all of Jackie Kennedy's emotions and thoughts into consideration; which has helped form an intense film to watch. From the initial shooting, to telling her children, and then all the way to trying to stay strong and move forward, Natalie Portman stays strong, but is clearly breaking and falling apart behind the facade. The scenes where JFK's vice president, Lyndon B. Johnson, gets the role of president mere moments after his murder are brutal to watch. As Portman stands on the plane, still covered in her husbands blood, and watches her husbands job and legacy get taken away...well, it is powerful and hard to watch.

Surrounded by an outstanding supporting cast, including Peter Saarsgard, John Carroll Lynch and the late John Hurt, Portman is not alone in telling this story. The other actors are supportive, realistic and do all they can to be Kennedy's and Portman's pillar of support. However, whilst each co-star is a brilliant actor and does a terrific job, they all manage to fall short next to Portman's gorgeous portrayal.

Max Casella, Beth Grant,
John Carroll Lynch & Natalie Portman
Director Pablo Larrain is more famous for directing men, and making films about men; so he was actually reluctant to take on this project. Thankfully though, he did take the story on his shoulders, and it is a triumph and something he should be proud of. He also has clearly studied Jackie Kennedy and taken into account the struggle she went through, and in doing that has managed to capture each moment with a raw elegance. The script by Noah Oppenheim, which is filled with detail and heart, is the final piece of the puzzle. It handles the tensions and emotions with a gentle hand, but at no points makes it an easy story to tell or receive.

This is a side of the story that I haven't heard told before, maybe it has been, but certainly not to this extent to my knowledge. I am thankful now that it has been told, because the world can see what a strong and powerful woman Jackie Kennedy was, and how she truly is a historic icon; an icon that Natalie Portman has brought back to life and given justice too.

Jackie - Trailer