Jackie reviews

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Re: Jackie reviews

Postby Okri » Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:35 pm

I'm closer to dan on this one, though it's certainly fascinating and she (and Sarsgaard) is very good.

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Re: Jackie reviews

Postby danfrank » Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:17 am

I can't say I loved this. It's impressive filmmaking at a lot of levels, but the overall effect left me rather cold. Natalie Portman's performance is certainly tour de force and successful at creating a complex character, but I never really saw the human in her or related to her in any way. Perhaps the Capital A acting got in the way. There were some beautifully constructed scenes and I did like the framing devices of the White House tour and interview with the Crudup character, but there were other technical choices that didn't work for me such as too many scenes done in extreme close-up and the musical score being overbearing at times. I agree with BJ''s comment about the timing of this film coming out in our current political context. The first thing my friend said after we saw this was, "How can Trump occupy the same White House that the Kennedys were in?" We've moved from Camelot to Urinetown.

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Re: Jackie reviews

Postby Sabin » Fri Dec 09, 2016 10:13 pm

It will be a shame if this film is lost in the shuffle. It's such a visually and emotionally arresting experience. Although it suffers from some tropes of the biopic genre (chief among them only the first 2/3rds or so is truly compelling), it's very smartly written. It largely cuts back and forth between her conversation with Billy Crudup and her time of grieving, but the choice to keep jumping back to her televised guided tour of the White House was inspired and re-contextualized the story (less so was her conversations with John Hurt's priest). I agree with BJ that watching this film during the Trump transition is especially affecting. Every technical aspect of the filmmaking is inspired: the cinematography, the editing, the music. It all works in congress with Natalie Portman's work, which is easily career best, but mostly I was taken by the scope of the project which wants us to understand her grief. It's an enormously empathetic film and I really respected it despite some flaws.
Last edited by Sabin on Sat Dec 10, 2016 11:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Jackie reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Tue Dec 06, 2016 3:29 pm

This may be the most fully successful movie I've seen this year. Not to say it's the best (though it's among the best)...just that I felt it completely achieved what it set out to do; when it finished, I wasn't left with any nagging afterthoughts (as with Moonlight -- ''was that all it was about?" -- and Manchester by the Sea -- "that ending was a bit too soft"). This seemed to achieve all its goals immaculately.

And it's a very interesting film -- re-contextualizing events with which I, certainly, am over-familiar (I'd thought that might not be the case with younger generations, but BJ shows similar acquaintance with Kennedy lore, so perhaps it's just part of the American landscape at this point), letting us see all of it through a new lens. The film gives us an incredibly complex Jackie Kennedy -- someone both socially shy and bound/determined to get what she wants; someone who sees her husband clearly and also harbors illusions about him (that it was his friends leading him into areas of temptation and betrayal); a woman sentimental enough to wallow in the Camelot imagery, but also canny enough to put it out there as a way of preserving her husband's image. (That hearse conversation about Garfield/McKinley vs. Lincoln was exceptionally insightful screenwriting.) The others around her, while not given as much screen-time, were similarly dimensionally drawn -- LBJ and Lady Bird, for instance, are trying to do the right thing by her, but somehow, unintentionally, manage to just miss the mark (as in the Air Force One awkwardness). Bobby clearly feels some closeness to Jackie, but also has a different agenda that throws them into occasional conflict. And Billy Crudup's journalist has to grapple with the conflict between his craft's general desire to deal in facts and his wish to please this lady in pain (while also considering how whatever he writes will affect a country similarly grieving),

Now having seen the film, I'm even more surprised Portman's name hasn't been more prominent in critics' voting. I think she's absolutely spectacular here, and approximating Jackie's whispery voice patterns is the least of it. She shows us so many sides of this lady, yet keeps them all coherent -- this would be a prize-worthy performance if it were about someone unknown. I of course have yet to see either of Huppert's films, or Emma Stone's work, but it would astonish me if one of them impressed me more than Portman does here (and I'm one who was only lukewarm on her Black Swan Oscar performance).

Peter Sarsgaard would also be a decent candidate in support -- he captures physical things about Bobby (the way he always seemed to lead with his neck), and offers a full-bodied character without a whiff of imitation.

As I said at the start: really impressive work, beautifully shot and directed; highly recommended.

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Re: Jackie reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:50 pm

Jackie was certainly a strange movie to sit through the week of this election -- the story of a stylish first couple who ushered in a new age of optimism in American history, which in an instant, gave way to a national catastrophe that forever altered the trajectory of the country, will resonate with many Americans in a way the filmmakers couldn't have imagined just months ago. Add in the movie's ideas about the roles of (and limitations imposed upon) women in the political sphere, and you have a film that now feels like a lightning rod for the grief so much of liberal America is working through at this moment.

But, bottom line -- I think this is a very impressive piece of work, one of the clear highlights of the movie year. To cut right to the movie's most praise-worthy element: Natalie Portman is sublime in this. It's the kind of performance where every scene feels like her Oscar clip, and she gets to show a ton of range throughout the film, showing so many different sides of Jackie Kennedy -- the hospitable First Lady giving America a tour of the White House, the distraught woman whose husband was murdered by her side, the wife who has moved past her initial feelings of grief and is just struggling to process it all. And she does all of this while capturing a woman with a very distinctive voice and manner without ever making it feel like an impersonation. I liked Portman's work in Black Swan a lot, but Jackie feels like a leap to another league for the actress.

And the filmmakers rise to her level, making this far more than the kind of biography where a strong central performance is the movie's only selling point. For me, Jackie has in spades what a lot of historical movies lack completely, and that's a point of view on the events depicted onscreen. This is all the more crucial for this material because unlike, say, the story of the Lovings, plenty of films and tv shows have given us portraits of the Kennedys. And in fact, many of the actual events in this movie -- the assassination and its aftermath -- are VERY well-known. I don't think anyone with a passing interest in the subject matter will find the movie provides all that much new information on a plot level.

But the screenplay is much less interested in regurgitating facts than using this story to bring out compelling themes and motifs. (And here, I should say, although nothing below is a spoiler per se, I am going to go into quite a bit of detail about the movie, so you've been warned that it might be worth seeing the movie before reading further thoughts.) One of the movie's central conceits is the idea that anyone in such a position of power as the Kennedys would be keenly aware that their daily lives are going to end up in the history books, in a legacy tying them to all of the other families that lived in the White House. Jackie discusses Lincoln's assassination on the White House tv special, then becomes terrified when her knowledge of Mary Todd Lincoln's fate aggravates her own grief following JFK's assassination. In this moment, Jackie is essentially linking her own trauma to one of the few people in American history to know what she's going through, and it feels like a moment of astounding loneliness for the First Lady to only be able to relate to a woman who lived a century earlier. Jackie insists that her husband's funeral procession be as close to Lincoln's as possible -- certainly this is an important part of her husband's own legacy, to be remembered alongside the other assassinated president Americans actually remember. And Jackie's scene with Bobby -- where he expresses his own frustration that they will simply be remembered as the beautiful people who lived in the White House, and not leaders who accomplished much -- similarly ties into the characters' constant awareness of their roles as historical figures, while also having to deal with the completely universal feelings of pain brought on by the sudden death of a loved one.

The movie also provides an interesting exploration of the role of the First Lady, certainly in the context of history. Seen today, in the era of Hillary and Michelle (or even Nancy Reagan), the movie's focus on First Lady as homemaker, bringing America a guided tour of the most famous house in the country, is a stark reminder of just how much women's roles in politics have changed in a half-century. But the movie also gets at an even more specific idea, that First Lady really is a peculiar position in American government -- you aren't elected into it, but you get that title simply for being married to whoever is. Which means that when your husband is no longer the president -- in this case, due to an event far more shocking than the end of a term limit -- you, too, are instantly stripped of your title and all that comes with it. Surely Jackie Kennedy's life changed forever with the death of her husband, but the movie does an impressive job showing just exactly what this change entailed for someone in such a unique position as she was.

The role of the still-young medium of television also serves as a memorable through-line for the movie. There's the White House tv special. Lady Bird's comment about how Jackie should change after the assassination because she'll be on camera. Jackie watching newly-sworn in LBJ on the news. The murder of Lee Harvey Oswald. All of these moments tie directly into the movie's ideas about history and lineage -- this is how history is recorded now, and there are ways in which it can be manipulated for audiences (clearly the White House tour's focus on decorations isn't intended to be hard-hitting news about life in the White House, particularly JFK's life in the White House), but there are also ways in which moments of shocking history (like Oswald's murder) can now suddenly be presented to viewers as they're happening. And what is broadcast on television can now be saved forever, and watched by future inhabitants of the White House in the same way the Kennedys studied the portraits of the Lincolns.

And, on this subject, I think it's fascinating that the film EXCLUDES many of what we now have absorbed as the defining images of Kennedy's assassination. We don't see the assassination from a distance, from the point of view of the Zapruder film. We see the event from Jackie's point of view, and I don't know if any film has captured the full shocking impact of just what happened that day in Dallas as well as the superbly directed sequence in this film. We don't see Walter Cronkite's announcement. Later, during the funeral, we don't see JFK, Jr. saluting. The movie seems less interested in giving us the images that history has defined for us as the most significant, and more concerned with showing what living through these moments meant for Jackie. (And of course, by doing so, this movie, by its very existence, creates its own images that will become part of Kennedy history.)

The script also has surprisingly strong dialogue for a film of this kind, providing all kinds of interesting insights in the conversations between Jackie and other characters (notably Billy Crudup's reporter, and John Hurt's priest). Lines like "I never wanted to be famous, I just married a Kennedy," "That house was never mine," "I used to make them smile," and "Don't marry the president" are loaded with meaning, resonant as both the words of a public figure living through history and a woman dealing with her own private grief.

Pablo Larraín's impressive work as director obviously helps bring out a lot of what I've already discussed, but if I must single out a few scenes that highlight that strengths of what he's bringing to the table, they'd be scenes that aren't so much visually grandiose, as ones where small details really stand out as products of a smart director's eye. The scene where LBJ takes the oath is wonderfully staged, and the body language between LBJ, Lady Bird, and Jackie conveys so much of what these three characters are going through at this moment. The "Camelot"-scored sequence provides a wonderful contrast between image and music, between the hope of what the Kennedys represented and the tragedy that befell so many of their family members. (And, on the subject of music, the haunting score is a big asset in defining the movie's tone of elegy.) And JFK Jr.'s birthday, where he's fiddling around the with the gun, that same tool that murdered his father, all while dressed as a cowboy, that most iconic of American images, feels like a moment loaded with all kinds of haunting subtext, handled with just enough subtlety by the director to make the point without going overboard.

This is the kind of movie I would recommend to pretty much everybody.

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Re: Jackie reviews

Postby Precious Doll » Sat Sep 10, 2016 4:36 am

Big Magilla wrote:I just watched a clip of Natalie as Jackie confronting Jack Valenti (Max Casella) over the funeral arrangements. If the rest of the film is as good as this, she'll be hard to beat. Given the structure of the film, though, it's difficult to imagine it competing in other categories. Still, a savvy distributor could make a difference. Apparently Fox Searchlight has first and last dibs with Sony and others extremely interested. A Toronto showing on 9/11 should be quite the ticket.

The clip is half-way down this Italian article:

http://www.filmtv.it/film/83975/jackie/ ... /#rfr:none


I imagine Fox are desperate for something they can promote for Oscar consideration given that The Birth of a Nation will be virtually D.O.A. when it's released next month.

Edit: Or maybe not after the audience reaction for TBOAN at Toronto http://variety.com/2016/film/news/birth ... 201856645/
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Re: Jackie reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Sep 10, 2016 1:03 am

It occurs to me that grief could be the predominant factor at this year's Oscars, especially if much of the industry has cause to be in mourning over the still uncertain outcome of the Presidential election.

We could be looking at an outcome something like this:

Best Picture, Director: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (alternates: Manchester by the Sea; Silence; Loving)
Actor: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
Actress: Natalie Portman, Jackie
Supporting Actor: Liam Neeson, Silence
Supporting Actress: Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea

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Re: Jackie reviews

Postby Big Magilla » Sat Sep 10, 2016 12:52 am

I just watched a clip of Natalie as Jackie confronting Jack Valenti (Max Casella) over the funeral arrangements. If the rest of the film is as good as this, she'll be hard to beat. Given the structure of the film, though, it's difficult to imagine it competing in other categories. Still, a savvy distributor could make a difference. Apparently Fox Searchlight has first and last dibs with Sony and others extremely interested. A Toronto showing on 9/11 should be quite the ticket.

The clip is half-way down this Italian article:

http://www.filmtv.it/film/83975/jackie/ ... /#rfr:none

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Re: Jackie reviews

Postby Sabin » Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:05 pm

This year's Best Actress lineup looks like it's already starting to fill up with Emma Stone for La La Land, Natalie for Jackie, Amy Adams for Arrival or Nocturnal Animals, Jessica Chastain for...something boring, Ruth Negga for Loving, and Viola Davis for Fences. There's even a deep bench of lighter Comedic or Musical Golden Globe contenders like Meryl Streep for Florence Foster Jenkins, Susan Sarandon for The Meddler, Sally Field for My Name is Doris, and Kate Beckinsale for Love & Friendship. Who knows where Annette Bening fits in this field?

I was going to write that it's possible that she'll slum it in supporting and then I remembered that she's in the new Warren Beatty film Rules Don't Apply and thought maybe she'll be up for two films this year. Her Rules Don't Apply clearly seems to be a supporting part. I can't imagine Warren Beatty hasn't thought about what helping his wife win an Oscar would do for his home life.
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Re: Jackie reviews

Postby Bog » Thu Sep 08, 2016 4:20 pm

The Bening thing sure is odd...with Swank and Portman being of almost same age and same amount of years apart from previous win as well as no noms in between the 2 films. As Sabin said also neither really (will have) sniffed a nom in those interim years. Jackie O is certainly iconic and if she is as solid as Million Dollar Baby then maybe the Academy will go for it again, to the chagrin of Bening.

I'd still place my wager in the corner of a Stone or Chastain (extremely topical also) as someone seemingly likely to receive gold in the 5 to 10 years from the last time Bening was a possibility as the new young Bening stopper.

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Re: Jackie reviews

Postby The Original BJ » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:47 pm

Although these reviews certainly caught me off guard as well, in hindsight, they maybe shouldn't have been so surprising. It's not only the past Oscar-winner playing an iconic historical figure part -- as Sabin implies, this just as easily could have been another Grace of Monaco. But I found the director's last brush with Oscar (No) to be a pretty strong movie, in a milieu (mid-to-late twentieth century politics) that his new film shares, even if the country/language differ.

I do wonder if Annette Bening woke to these rave reviews for Natalie Portman and thought, oh no, not AGAIN.

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Re: Jackie reviews

Postby Sabin » Wed Sep 07, 2016 4:16 pm

Were I to be asked to draw up a list of the films this year I'd be least interested in seeing, this would likely to be up there. Not because the material isn't engrossing, but rather the likelihood that they pull it off. I'd also say this because Natalie Portman has kept such a low profile since winning an Oscar, which seems like an odd thing to say because she's starred in a couple of Marvel movies, a Terrence Malick film, a Western, an ersatz Apatow film, one of the most financially successful romantic comedies of the decade, and she wrote/directed her first feature, but this is a resume that only looks good on paper. It doesn't feel like she's done anything since Black Swan. But she has such a movie star quality and it seems as though Hollywood very much wants her to do well, so I think having won six years previously shouldn't stand in the way of her winning again, especially for a role like this that has so much immense personal value to people of your average Academy voters' age.
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Jackie reviews

Postby Mister Tee » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:57 am

Well, if you had this earmarked for across-the-board raves from the trades, pat yourself on the back. I didn't see this coming for a second.


http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/ja ... 201853716/

http://www.screendaily.com/reviews/jack ... ntID=40562

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review ... iew-926210


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