Thursday, 26 January 2017

'Jackie' Review

After her husband was famously shot dead, Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) has an interview discussing her life since the assassination. During this, she recalls events before and straight after her world was turned upside down. 

In recent years, we have been treated to many great biopics with the likes of 'Steve Jobs' and 'Selma' being huge critical successes. Big strengths in these types of films are to create a charismatic figure that you want to know more about and that will really grab a hold of your attention. A biopic has to be interesting at least to keep its audience's attention whilst showing the life of a person or covering an event. In saying this, 'Jackie' is about as dull and boring as a biopic can be.

'Jackie' showcases the wife of former President of the United States John F. Kennedy. We get to see Jackie carry out an interview with the press weeks after the funeral, the immediate aftermath of JFK's death and a TV episode where cameras were invited personally into the White House. As the film bounces between these events, after about 20 minutes, you start to realise that there is nothing of interest within the film. The film is incredibly slow as we see Jackie mess around with the reporter, telling what he can report and what he can't. The aftermath is basically Jackie planning a funeral but she just can't decide what she wants the ceremony to be like, how interesting?! The tour that Jackie gives a TV network is equally as engaging and it doesn't get any better as the film goes on. There are some good details at times, mainly about Jackie thoughts about her late husband. Other than that, its secretive smoking and constantly changing her mind. A problem also lies in the fact that there is no clear story within this. There's not a build up to anything meaning no drama, no tension, no emotion and nothing of true significance. The conversations aren't interesting as are none of the events.

As far as actually teaching the audience about Jackie, the film fails so even in doing that. As the film draws to a close, Billy Crudup's journalist character speaks about how Jackie is a national treasure and that due to her actions after her husband's death, she was like a mother to the entire nation. The film wraps up as if it had just shown many great things that she did. The problem is, the film doesn't do so at all. There's nothing here that makes this character seem great or a big deal at all. She was a president's wife and that's about it according to this film. It shows her to be indecisive, unconfident and just plain. Combining the entertainment and educational aspects within a biopic, this really isn't any more entertaining than a documentary would be. A documentary would also offer a better and more in-depth look at the character, bringing an all round better experience.

Despite the clear problems with the monotonous story, credit must be given where credit is due. If it weren't for Natalie Portman, this film would have been a lot worse. Portman does well in her role and does shine at times, especially during the touring scenes. Jackie seems to be very timid in front of the camera and Portman is very consistent in showing this to a high level. Her accent doesn't seem to follow the same consistency but that may be down to the differences in the three separate parts of the film. Portman is the standout performance in the film, although it is questionable to whether it is Best Actress worthy especially with Amy Adams missing out entirely.

'Jackie' also gained nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Original Score. Had the film taken place in a few more different locations, then it may have easily picked up a nomination for Set Design too. 'Jackie' is a very aesthetically pleasing film, looking stunning in all aspects. The camera does capture some beautiful looking moments which allows Portman to showcase her talents without even having to say anything. There are no faults within the filmmaking as it jumps between looking classic to present at the time very smoothly. The score does really help elevate the film at times, especially that of the actual funeral where it is just haunting and crafted perfectly well. It does add a bit more to the dour and dull scenes, although the music is fairly depressing at times, leading to you becoming even more fed up with the film inadvertently.

There are many great biopics out there and 'Jackie' unfortunately does not add to them. This film is so dull and lacks anything remotely interesting or intriguing. Sure it is pleasing to the eye but underneath that is ultimately nothing. Very disappointing.

Final Verdict = 

So have you seen 'Jackie'? If so, what did you think of the film? I hope that this review was useful for if you were planning on seeing the movie or not! Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review it is much appreciated!

By Angus McGregor

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