To portray the emotional state of a woman who has just held the blood stained head of her husband and the President of the United States of America in her lap after he has been shoot, is a challenge. Jackie Kennedy [Natalie Portman] is traumatised by the murder and the film follows the next four days before the funeral and how she deals with her grief. She was fragile and frightened and needed the help of family and her staff
Bobby Kennedy [Peter Saregaad] was first on the scene and simular to all those around her, walks on egg shells as he helps her make arrangements for the funeral. She constantly changes her mind, chain smoking the whole time. Those were the days when the press honoured 'off the record' private details of celebrities' lives. Her grief is terrible to watch and so genuine it is felt by the audience.
Jackie wants lots of pomp and circumstance to be observed so all of America can grief and respect their President. J.F.K. wanted his presidency to be remembered as a youthful, joyous time, simular to the ancient, mythical time of Camelot. Many nights before going to bed [when he came home] he would play the songs from the Broadway musical of the same name written in 1960. Jackie promoted this fairy tale, she know the American people wanted to believe in the dream.
In flashbacks, her contribution as first lady living at 'the peoples home' and her beauty and elegance is why she will always be remembered as one of the great first ladies.
Jackie had to come to terms with many things. including her loss of power. 'I didn't want fame, I just became a Kennedy' and was left with fame she didn't want or enjoy. She loses the home she loved, restored and opened up for all the world to visit.
John Hurt plays a minor role as the priest who comforts her with his good advice and a soothing voice. This is not one of his most memorable roles, but sadly it is one of his last.
Many other fine actors play minor roles, but this film belongs to Natalie Portman, who has been nominated for an Academy Award for capturing the true spirit of a woman going through the most difficult time of her life, not just losing her husband but also coming to terms with a whole new future as a single mother. It has also been nominated for best screenplay, best costumes and makeup.
That a lot of reasons for seeing this film and trying to unravel, as Jackie says 'What was real and what was performance'.
I saw it at Cinema Paradiso at Ettalong on the Central Coast.