Jackie Screen 29 articles



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  • It is a laborious ordeal of unceasing histrionic assault and gymnastic hysterics, in its way a feminine counterpart to the monotonous masculine trudge of The Revenant, though Jackie has the decency at least to be brief... Portman is, I hasten to add, singularly awful, though by virtue of the fact that the actress is attempting an impersonation of a dead celebrity with a highly recognizable speech pattern, she will automatically be catapulted into the awards season frontrunner shortlists.

  • Failing to distinguish itself from all other historical drag revues of late, Jackie indulges in the hoary strategy of placing an iconic figure from a global event under the microscope, in order to give its central actor a chance to flex her muscles against the binds of mimicry. And struggle Natalie Portman does, unbearably for those who recognize this breed of performance as prestige cinema's true uncanny valley.

  • It suggests nothing so much as a half-season’s worth of Quality TV stripped down, squeezed together, and then carefully retouched with art-cinema make-up for just the right haunted, lifelike look... Everything about Jackie is calibrated to give the impression of a complex, multi-levelled portrait, and the strain shows at all times.

  • For a film like this to really work, it needed to be a fantasia or a fever dream, contrasting with the First Lady's buttoned-down demeanor rather than exemplifying it. And as for Portman's much-discussed performance, it's too breathy by half and always telegraphing passive-aggression. Even Philip Glass would wonder, "hey, have you got anything aside from that one note?"

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    Sight & Sound: Violet Lucca
    January 06, 2017 | February 2017 Issue (pp. 68-69)

    Larraín's film is hollow. Burdened with a terrible, Black List script by Noah Oppenheim, Jackie offers few insights into one of the 20th century's most heavily analysed events, and says even less about grief.

  • While it’s certainly of interest, this predictably grim, grainy, gloomy movie only periodically splutters into life. A broader scope might have paid more than lip service to whatever Jackie experienced outside her husband’s shadow and allowed some light into the corners, while a straightforward chronological structure might have done more to crystallise Jackie’s transitions from shock and anguish to resolve.

  • Words like “legacy,” “memory,” “artifact,” and “performance” are uttered with great frequency and given similarly acrobatic renderings throughout Jackie, bluntly hammering home the notion that history is framed by perception rather than reality.

  • Where’s the line between a sensitive work of imagination and an invasion of real-life grief in the service of arty filmmaking? There’s a lot of clever technique in Jackie, like its canny, razor-precise editing. But there’s also something arch and distant about the picture. Portman tries to portray this most enigmatic figure as frosty, inscrutable and vulnerable, but the performance comes off as calculating and mannered.

  • Larraín cycles through these various time frames with the sort of dreamy elliptical editing that can trick one into believing a film is more narratively inventive than it is in actuality. Where Jackie falters is in the critique of its subject’s public persona versus her private life.

  • Unfortunately, Jackie's cavalcade of portentous scenes and somewhat turgid dialogue begins to feel like a swirl of “meaningful” signifiers, as opposed to a trenchant exploration of its underlying ideas. Despite its ostensible intimacy of perspective, it traffics in suggestive generalities (of both theme and character) rather than tangible specifics.

  • It struck me as over-determined and textual, like a Todd Haynes movie without a sensual side. Say what you will about Haynes’ academic commentaries and significations of repressed desires, but at least they’re always related through his fascination with glamor, mystique, and period forms.

  • Larraín, who did such gorgeously expressive work in Neruda (a superior film in almost every way), decides that his best bet is to keep slowly pushing in on Portman's quivering face, in what plays like a somber parody of art-film direction. Her much-admired performance is to my eyes a jarring amalgam of superficial impersonation and actorly self-consciousness (as distinctly opposed to the self-consciousness of a debutante turned First Lady).

  • It appears to be participating in a funeral procession all its own, reveling in the swollen emotions of a young woman who cannot fathom taking one step forward. The viewer simply watches from afar, and that distance makes it difficult to see Portman's character as anything beyond a suffering archetype. While many small details are profoundly beautiful, Larraín's attempt feels weighed down by self-importance, as if history were a wet blanket of one's own making that is ultimately inescapable.

  • [One scene] reminded me of Nicole Kidman in Birth, another movie where a widow reckons with her husband’s ghost. But these glimpses are brief. Soon it’s back to her dull tête-à-têtes with journalists, confidantes, or an impish Irish priest, each strewn with platitudes and drenched in magic hour lighting. The dialogue flails toward the concept of national memory; it induces nothing like the morbid twinge of seeing a former First Lady sink into campy despair.

  • Shot on 16mm and featuring fastidious recreations, it feels both indie and lavish, intimate and operatic, deadly serious and knowingly camp. That Portman never really transcends “Portman doing Jackie” has a sort of meta-quality that works here. You can’t take your eyes off her for the same reason America couldn’t take their eyes off the First Lady—you’re waiting to catch a glimpse a crack in the poise.

  • It's a surface-level film that's about concern for surfaces: Defending her decision to spend great deals of tax payer money on her restoration project, one admirer of Jackie's ambitions insists, “People need to know that great men lived here.” Like Jackie herself, Larraín isn't necessarily convinced by this sentiment, but he's fascinated by it, and his film appropriately honors its subject's variously superficial and serious concern for legacy

  • There are two movies in "Jackie". One of these movies is just OK. The other is exceptional. The first one keeps undermining the second... The great movie that is "Jackie" keeps fighting to free itself from the clammy clutches of the could-have-been-better, knows-what-best-for-us movie. After a while the struggle becomes indistinguishable from the struggle depicted in the movie itself.

  • Portman’s performance and Larraín’s flowing camera overcome a screenplay that too often seems like a one-act play. Larraín and Portman do more than just move a play outdoors. They explode it into lush, grand visions of American history and chaos.

  • Larraín plays with the distancing and inevitably artificial nature of the camera’s gaze to evoke the alienation of a life lived in public. Whatever happens, we still find ourselves at a distance from her; perhaps she is even distanced from herself. At times, the sumptuously polished aesthetic of these moments even borders on the voyeuristic, reminding us that we too risk becoming spectators, gawping at her pain.

  • Eschewing standard biopic form at every turn, this brilliantly constructed, diamond-hard character study observes the exhausted, conflicted Jackie as she attempts to disentangle her own... grief from a tragedy shared by millions. [It's] provocative and entirely unsentimental in the speculative voice given to its subject’s most private thoughts on marriage, faith and self-image, and galvanized by Natalie Portman’s complex, meticulously shaded work in the lead.

  • Not so much a biopic as an essay on history and what happens to people who become part of it, Pablo Larraín’s Jackie is an elegant, highly intelligent attempt to humanise a legend – while showing its subject’s acute awareness of what it means to become a legend. Natalie Portman excels in her most demanding and most complex performance to date.

  • It’s powerful stuff, woven carefully into the fabric of Noah Oppenheim’s excellent, measured screenplay... It’s striking to see Larraín tackle such quintessentially American material (and with a largely different crew) and managing to hit the mark so cleanly once again.

  • The latest film and first English-language production from Pablo Larraín, who with every film seems to further cement his standing as the preeminent Chilean director of his generation and one of the leading filmmakers in world cinema.

  • One quickly realizes that Larraín wants us to be aware of Portman's performance as an act. The spectacle of a famous actress like Portman taking on one of the most iconic figures in American history becomes, under Larraín's direction, just another level of performance, in a film concerned with elucidating levels of performance in public and private spheres.

  • Intensely affecting and insistently protean, the film “Jackie” is a reminder that for a time she was bigger than any star, bigger than Marilyn or Liz. She was the Widow — an embodiment of grief, symbol of strength, tower of dignity and, crucially, architect of brilliant political theater. Hers was also a spectacularly reproducible image.

  • There's a mesmeric intensity to Jackie that's unlike any biopic of its kind, marked by a deliberate effort to narrow the scope to one woman's actions and reactions over the course of a few fraught days... More than merely offering a backstage pass to history, Larraín draws us into the utter uniqueness of a situation where personal loss and national duty collided so violently.

  • It's a deep, deep stew in misery, grief and fear for a gloomy future. In other words, it’s perfect for right now. This long post-election moment shall pass, for those of us wallowing in it, before transforming into who knows what.

  • Just as Neruda notes the seeds of later history, so here too we glimpse defining moments in the midst of seemingly chaotic events, as Bobby casually sparks Johnson’s feud with him by bossing him around even though he is now in command. These scenes are a tour-de-force for Larraín in conjuring the sensation, at once intense yet detached, of intense shock and grief, and for Portman in capturing those feelings.

  • I can’t think of a recent movie that’s filled me with ecstasy like “Jackie” did. It left me artistically intimidated and wonderstruck... The film plies between past and present, desperately looking for “Jackie O.” She isn’t hard to find. With great style and sensibility, Natalie Portman surpasses herself... she redefines modern acting: sublimating the inherent opportunity of the role into something temerously mortal, she might as well die before our eyes, killing herself to exist, unendingly.

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