Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larraín makes his English language debut with this far from conventional Hollywood biopic, starring Natalie Portman

Film Review by Patrick Gamble | 12 Jan 2017
  • Jackie
Film title: Jackie
Director: Pablo Larraín
Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Richard E. Grant
Release date: 20 Jan
Certificate: 15

Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Jackie Kennedy may be the bookies' favourite for the Best Actress Oscar, but Pablo Larraín’s Jackie is far from your conventional Hollywood biopic. Weaving together fragmented memories of the days following the assassination of John F Kennedy, Larraín shows how the death of a president gave birth to a legend.

During this period, Jackie famously compared her husband’s tenure in the oval office with King Arthur's Camelot, and Larraín concentrates on this attempt to enshrine his presidency in mythology. Portman’s mannered performance is unforgettable, internalising Jackie’s grief into a quivering ball of anxiety, but it’s Mica Levi’s score that’s the film’s real star. Layering wailing strings over the bellow of melancholic horns, Levi violently manipulates the traditional orchestral score of a prestige picture to express how the building of a myth around one person can distort history. Peeling away the artifice of the Kennedy legacy to reveal the raw nerve of failed idealism, Jackie is a bewitching study of mythmaking that underlines Larraín’s status as cinema’s most daring political filmmaker.

Released by Fox Searchlight