Jackie.   Rating:  4 (out of 5).  The film follows First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy after the assassination of President John F Kennedy. Catch the movie on VOD starting Tuesday, March 7.  Mostly (though not entirely) positive reviews for the film and Natalie Portman’s portrayal of the First Lady with The Hollywood Reporter calling it “A shattering reflection on loss and legacy.”

Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig
Director: Pablo Larraín
Rating: R
Genre: Biography, Drama



USA Today gives the movie 3.5 out of 4 stars, and further writes, “The iconic first lady is given emotional complexity and rich understanding through a stirring and ambitious performance by Natalie Portman in director Pablo Larrain’s powerful drama. It’s less a biopic than an experimental character study — an effective one — looking at Jackie’s private life in the traumatic days following her husband’s assassination.”

Christian Science Monitor says, “This meta-biopic is more about Jackie Kennedy as perceived in the popular imagination than it is about the woman herself. And what Larraín has to offer on this score is not terribly enlightening.”

According to New York Magazine (Vulture), “Jackie is a hard movie to love, but its brittleness might be its most admirable quality.”

Boston Globe gives the movie 4 out of 4 stars, and further writes, “Jackie Kennedy, by which I mean the cultural artifact we called “Jackie Kennedy,” was always theater. “Jackie” the movie, by contrast, is about the sorrow, resentment, and fear — and vanity, and rage, and, finally, strength — of an ingénue thrust violently alone onto center stage.”

San Francisco Chronicle says, “It is a mess of a film, botched but also misconceived, with a central performance by Natalie Portman that evokes nothing about Jackie Kennedy, beyond the stylish clothes and the secret smoking.”

The New York Times finds, “The film has the requisite surface fidelity…. But it also has moments of lightness and strangeness, as well as kinks and sour notes, which strengthen the sense that these are people, not figurines in a dutiful, paint-by-numbers biopic.”

Variety observes, “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 perspective, her own legacy, and, perhaps hardest of all, her own grief from a tragedy shared by millions.”

Philadelphia Inquirer thinks, “It is a fever dream of a movie, tracking its subject as she tries to maintain control, maintain her composure and her sanity, and as she tries — shellshocked, quaking with grief, but also fiercely determined — to shape and secure her husband’s legacy.”

According to Chicago Sun-Times, “Portman’s performance carries the day.”

Los Angeles Times says, “Larraín told his producers he wouldn’t do Jackie unless Natalie Portman agreed to take on the role, and her superb performance, utterly convincing without being anything like an impersonation, vindicates his determination.”

Entertainment Weekly gives the movie an A- rating, and further writes, “Shot in often claustrophobic close-ups with a dizzying, discordant score, Jackie veers close to treating camp as high art. But in its audacious strangeness, the movie manages to do something history hardly ever gets to: surprise us.”

New York Daily News observes, “Whenever the movie begins to falter — it cuts, sometimes confusingly, among at least three different timelines — Portman pulls it back together, and sets it back on course.”

Village Voice notes, “Every scene is visceral. Every note played tells a story.”

The New Yorker thinks, “I happen to find the result intrusive, presumptuous, and often absurd, but, for anyone who thinks that all formality is a front, and that the only point of a façade is that it should crack, Jackie delivers a gratifying thrill.”

Chicago Tribune observes, “It’s an odd, hermetic and fascinating picture.”

Wall Street Journal says, “At the center of this swirl of events, poignant recollections and utter pandemonium, Ms. Portman’s Jackie is a mesmerizing presence.”

New York Post finds, “Clipped, controlled and composed, Jackie Kennedy was a woman of her times, but since composure doesn’t win you Oscar nominations, Natalie Portman opts to play the part with a sort of emotional incontinence.”

The Hollywood Reporter calls the film “A shattering reflection on loss and legacy.”

NPR thinks, “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.”

According to The Seattle Times, “Jackie is mesmerizing; a familiar story told from an entirely different angle. It’s voyeuristic, to be sure — the scenes of Jackie alone in her White House bedroom, after the shooting, feel almost unbearably intimate — but you can’t look away.”

Washington Post gives the movie 4 out of 4 stars, and further notes, “On its surface, “Jackie” is a portrait of masterful style and story­telling, as one of the world’s most admired first ladies determinedly solidifies her dead husband’s legacy. But at its core, it’s about a young, strong, unimaginably frightened woman seizing the opportunity to live a life she can finally call her own.”

New York Observer says, “Never embroidered or rehearsed, the way so many biopics are, this is a wonderful movie that feels freshly observed, like an uninvited peek through some forbidden White House keyhole, at the woman we called Jackie.”

Arizona Republic finds, “Calling Jackie, director Pablo Larrain’s absorbing film, a construction project is not to demean it but to praise it.”

New Orleans Times-Picayune gives the film 5 out of 5 stars, and further notes, “Simply put, Portman owns Larrain’s movie from beginning to end.”

Tampa Bay Times says, “Anchored by Natalie Portman’s uncanny impersonation — wispy voice, aristocratic posture — Jackie fascinates and frustrates, sometimes at once. We can’t be certain any of her actions here are true. Some don’t seem likely.”

According to Austin Chronicle, “Jackie has a nightmare vibe to it that’s palpable and unsettling, and Portman’s performance as the widowed first lady is a tour de force of conflicting emotions brought on by the impossibly ghastly reality bookending that sunny day in Dallas.”

St. Louis Post-Dispatch gives the film 4 out of 4 stars, and further notes, “Portman is simply brilliant, getting to the essence of Jackie without resorting to a mere impersonation. Particularly in her scenes with Crudup, she’s mesmerizing even when she’s disagreeable. It’s an Oscar-worthy performance. This may not be the “Jackie” you know, but it’s a vision of the former first lady that’s nonetheless fascinating.”

The Globe and Mail says, “To watch Portman’s every move is to not only watch history being recreated, but to also witness history being made. No one will ever be able to touch this role again. Or, at least, no one should.”

The Guardian finds, “It’s a singular vision from an uncompromising director that happens to be about one of the most famous women in American history. Jackie is not Oscar bait – it’s great cinema.”

The Telegraph gives the film 5 out of 5 stars, and further notes, “Jackie, the English-language debut from the Chilean director Pablo Larraín, shows you the past in a hall of shattered mirrors – fractured and unsettling, with every surface sharp enough to draw blood.”

Consequence of Sound thinks, “It’s as complex and surprising a character study as any you’ll see this year, a fact made all the more impressive when you remember that the woman in question has been turned into a collectible doll.”

Empire Online gives the movie 4 out of 5 stars, and further writes, “Jackie does what the very best biopics should: it makes you view someone you’ve seen countless times as if you were seeing them anew.”

Indiewire observes, “Anchored by Natalie Portman’s achy-eyed performance, Jackie is, despite a few wrinkles at the end, about the best version of this story you can get.”

CineVue notes, “Larraín is as good at navigating the treacherous waters of internal White House politics as he is capturing the moments of intense, if numbed, private suffering.”

Movie Nation finds, “Portman lets us feel the way her loss utterly empties life of meaning and purpose. But Chilean director Pablo Larrain (“The Club”) lets little John Jr. (Aiden and Brody Weinberg) provide the heart-wrenching release, just as he did back at that state funeral in 1963.”

MTV News thinks, “Pablo Larraín’s Jackie is an elegy to two slandered traits: self-consciousness and superficiality.”

ReelViews observes, “The title character never emerges from the iconic shell she inhabits to become a fully fleshed-out individual and the filmmakers are perhaps too reverential to make her seem real. Like Camelot, she’s a mythic figure and Jackie doesn’t do enough to humanize her.”

RogerEbert.com gives the movie 2.5 stars, and further notes, “There are two movies in Jackie, Pablo Larraín’s film about Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) immediately before, during and after the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy. One of these movies is just OK. The other is exceptional. The first one keeps undermining the second.”

Rolling Stone says, “Powered by a transfixing Portman, Larrain’s film – one of the year’s best – is appropriately hard to pin down and impossible to forget.”

According to Salon.com, “Jackie transcends mimicry to achieve something greater — bringing the first lady’s grief and resolve in the face of unspeakable loss to vivid life.”

Screen International says, “Larraín’s highly varied visual invention and command of complex structure serve as a reminder of how vitally an imaginative director can skew what otherwise might have emerged in more mainstream colours.”

ScreenCrush finds, “Instead of observing its historical subject from behind a glass case, Jackie offers a piercing portrait of a woman’s psychological and emotional journey.”

Slant Magazine observes, “Pablo Larraín’s film bluntly hammers home the notion that history is framed by perception rather than reality.”

Slate notes, “Through two viewings of Jackie, I was never able to pin down whether it was Portman’s performance or Larraín’s way of framing it that left me emotionally shut out.”

A.V. Club gives the film an A- rating, and further writes, “Jackie shows us the facade and the beneath, which is just one way this boldly off-kilter movie puts its biopic brethren to shame.”

The Film Stage says, “This is remarkable stuff from a director on the cusp of the mainstream. You sense an American filmmaker might not have managed it.”

According to The Playlist, “Jackie is what happens when two distinct sensibilities — the Goliath of the Hollywood prestige pic and the David of Pablo Larraín’s playful, idiosyncratic intelligence — throw down.”

Total Film gives the movie 4 out of 5 stars, and further writes, “Portman’s Oscar-worthy work crowns an unconventional study of an icon, while Mica Levi’s score is sublime.”

TheWrap finds, “He offers glimmers of what lies beneath the near-mythic, elegant exterior, but Larrain’s take is more impressionistic than revelatory, more presumptuous than knowing.”

Time says, “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.”

Time Out New York thinks, “Jackie pummels you with grandeur, with its epic visions of the funeral and that terrible moment in the convertible (all of it rendered in pitch-perfect detail and a subtle 16-millimeter shudder). Yet the film’s lasting impact is dazzlingly intellectual: Just as JFK himself turned politics into image-making, his wife continued his work when no one else could.”

We Got This Covered gives the film 3.5 out of 5 stars, and further notes, “Jackie is Natalie Portman’s show, and she never wastes an opportunity to dazzle as JFK’s glamorous grieving widow.”


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