November 26, 2016 -- This film shows Jacqueline Lee "Jackie" Kennedy fighting against chaos and ugly politics in and around the time of her husband's assassination. Natalie Portman portrays Jackie Kennedy as a strong-willed woman with a clear sense of history who is trying to save her late President Kennedy's legacy.
Perhaps no one, with the exception of Nancy Reagan, has done more to protect and enhance her husband's legacy than Jackie Kennedy. She fought to have her husband, President John F. Kennedy, buried in Arlington National Cemetery, rather than Brookline, Mass, and helped stage a grand funeral procession for him in Washington D.C.
The theme of “Camelot” (the original score with Richard Burton and Julie Andrews is heard) echoes throughout the film as Jackie conducts an exclusive interview with a journalist (played by Billy Crudup of “Almost Famous”). The film is based on a Theodore H. White interview with Jackie for Life Magazine at Hyannis Port, Mass. The interview takes place after Jackie has moved out of the White House.
The conversation between Jackie and the journalist forms the hub of the story, told in flashbacks, including the famous TV tour of the White House given by Jackie in 1962 (in which Portman's image is cleverly inserted into the historic video). The story focuses on Jackie's sense of history and her fear that her late husband will be forgotten, like some other past presidents who were assassinated. An exception was Abraham Lincoln. Jackie studied the Lincoln funeral and the procession, too, in preparation for the Kennedy funeral arrangements.
Some of the other people who get a lot of screen time in this film are Peter Sarsgaard (“The Magnificent Seven”) who plays the president's younger brother, Robert Kennedy, and Greta Gerwig (“Maggie's Plan”) who plays Jackie's old friend, assistant and confidant, Nancy Tuckerman. John Hurt (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) also has a small, but important role in the movie as a wise old priest.
Since this movie is set in and around the time of the assassination, it is necessarily dark and sombre in tone, especially in two cemetery scenes with overcast, rainy weather just so you get the idea this is sad. It also brings back sad memories to those of us who remember the day when Kennedy was assassinated. It is well acted and informative, revealing a side of Jackie Kennedy that is relatively unknown. This film rates a B.
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