Written by Brittany Landry
We know Jackie’s husband, John F. Kennedy, the once president of the United States, was assassinated. We might even know that she climbed onto the back of a moving convertible to retrieve parts of her husband’s skull during the Dallas shooting. But walking into this movie I was expecting more.
Was she really the cookie cutter housewife who gave America a tour of the White House? What was her past? Where did she end up? Instead, the director Pablo Larrain show us the end of the Kennedy fairy tale, and through Jackie’s eyes reminds us how traumatic the ordeal really was.
The close-up shots of Natalie Portman’s phenomenal performance brought you front and center to Jackie’s raw emotions. You are there with her when JFK is killed when she is coping and finally, you are there with her when she boldly walks behind the casket.
We are shown how Jackie liked to spend money on the White House during the Kennedy presidency. JFK called it her “Vanity Project,” but as we see in the film, Jackie was just doing her best to preserve the image of the “People’s House.”
A theme repeated throughout was her need to preserve her husband’s memory. She struggles with the idea that the people will only remember him as the “pretty” president who was assassinated, or worse forget the Kennedy’s were ever in the White House.
The funeral, she decides, is the way to fix that, and the interview she gives to Life Magazine is meant to seal the deal.
Larrain successfully brought a new generation to mourn JFK, but his success seems to conflict with Jackie’s desire to be remembered for more than the assassination.
Again and again, we watch as Jacqueline Kennedy tries to keep herself together while fighting to protect the memory of her husband. This fairy tale might not have had a happy ending, but it certainly had a heroine, and her name was Jackie.