A new trailer for Pablo Larrain’s Jackie Kennedy biopic, Jackie, dropped this week, and it stopped us in our tracks. Natalie Portman’s performance as Kennedy just seems to have that kind of impact: just ask the critics who raved about her after seeing the film at the Venice and Toronto film festivals.
Though thefilm centers around the famous interview between the First Lady and Life reporter Theodore H. White (played here by Billy Crudup) following President John F. Kennedy’s burial, Jackie spans throughout the Kennedy presidency and its aftermath, and focuses on her attempts to save her husband’s legacy while trying to manage her grief. The movie also stars Greta Gerwig, Peter Saarsgard, and Richard E. Grant, but we all know where the focus is. The rest is just window dressing.
And that’s kind of ironic, given that Hollywood seemed to consider Kennedy herself a piece of JFK-centric scenery up until this point, little more than a face in a pink pillbox hat who serves two important purposes: to let us know when a film is set, and to be a main figure in any recreation of the assassination itself. It’s a viewpoint that Portman herself seems to share. “The more superficial details — the way she talked, the way she looked, the way she moved — are skills but portraying how she felt takes imagination,” Portman tellsVariety. “I love that she defined herself as a wife primarily but lived a life that was very counter to that, where she was her own woman. She became the author of her own story and his story.”
Portman’s performance looks to be flawless — she gets the accent down (though apparently that was a priority for both the actress and producer Darren Aronofsky), and she embodies a senior figure in the mythos of American resolve with a great deal of feeling and empathy. Portman won the Best Actress award at the Venice Film Festival, and it’s hard not to see a bevy of statuettes in her future.
Jackie enters limited release on December 2, with a wide rollout planned throughout the month.