Belfast Telegraph

Jackie review: Haunting retelling of tragedy

By Damon Smith

Journalist Theodore H White (Billy Crudup) visits the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, a few days after the assassination to interview Jackie (Natalie Portman).

From the outset, Jackie attempts to gain a semblance of control she never had in the White House. "You understand that I will be editing this conversation?", she tells Theodore.

Gradually, she relates her version of events, including the blood-spattered rush to hospital where she is joined by Jack's brother Bobby (Peter Sarsgaard) and her social secretary, Nancy Tuckerman (Greta Gerwig).

While Jackie and the rest of the world mourn her beloved Jack (Caspar Phillipson), Lyndon B Johnson (John Carroll Lynch) is hurriedly sworn in as President aboard Air Force One in front of his wife Lady Bird (Beth Grant) and aide Jack Valenti (Max Casella).

"A First Lady must always be ready to pack her suitcases. It's inevitable," Jackie laments. Larrain's film is a mesmerising kaleidoscope of real and imagined details, galvanized by Portman's haunting embodiment of a widow in emotional isolation.

Four stars

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