Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

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domino harvey
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Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#1 Post by domino harvey » Fri Sep 09, 2016 3:58 pm

Pablo Larrain's Jackie O biopic with Natalie Portman is getting raves, especially for Portman's performance

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#2 Post by The Narrator Returns » Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:06 pm

And it's scored by Mica Levi!

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#3 Post by swo17 » Fri Sep 09, 2016 4:12 pm

That plus the title of the film being reasonably Googleable are two big steps in the right direction.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#4 Post by The Narrator Returns » Wed Oct 05, 2016 3:16 pm


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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#5 Post by hearthesilence » Sat Oct 15, 2016 12:55 am

I was fortunate enough to see this. Not a bad film, the cast was fine, but I cannot share much of the enthusiasm expressed in the early festival hype. For starters, the most striking elements of the film seemed almost too familiar, taking the stylistic approach of No and transplanting it on to Jackie. For a while it takes a familiar premise (a prominent female character confined to her era's accepted role of a woman) into a promising direction, but I felt like it wound up settling for something that was fairly simple and bit too sentimental.

I like Levi but the score was occasionally laid on too thick - in one particular scene it almost drowned out John Hurt's lengthy dialogue. And I can't agree with the Hollywood Reporter's praise that the use of Camelot was "brilliant" - even if it was based on fact, the second that music came in, I cringed. It just seemed painfully on the nose.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#6 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Oct 23, 2016 3:01 am

I have to echo the general feeling of the previous review though not necessarily the specifics. My main issue was with not entirely knowing if the style employed suited its character or the outsized circumstances. It's a film shot like a low budget indie about a few days in the life of someone ordinary that happens to be about the most significant American event of the 20th century, and a lead who is far, far from ordinary. Larraín does an incredible job of taking us into the truly harrowing experience of the assasination and immediate aftermath, but has a lot of trouble cracking Jackie O's unbreakable facade in a way that feels actually unguarded. And that would be fine, were we not inches from her face for a couple of hours.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#7 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sun Oct 30, 2016 8:14 pm

What interests me about this, is that now we're at a point where we don't have to sell movies about the 60's as nostalgia, but as allegory to contemporary themes. From what I'm reading here, the dramatic potential of that is not really reached. But it's something I'd like to see more of.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#8 Post by Brian C » Sun Dec 11, 2016 9:18 pm

I don't really have any memory of the real Jackie. I was a teenager when she died, but I doubt I had any more than a vague idea who she was, and I can't say that I've felt moved to learn a whole lot about her in the meantime. But I feel like the movie takes a certain familiarity with her and her public image for granted. It's pitched squarely at the type of boomer liberals who still have that deep emotional connection to the Kennedys and the whole Camelot mythology.

It's also pretty lurid. The whole project is pretty questionable, to be honest - does the world really need a movie about the agony Jackie Kennedy went through in the aftermath of the assassination? Was her public grief not enough, that we need to see that she was indeed privately crushed as well? I don't think the movie makes a very strong case for itself in this regard, and despite its art-film trappings, it's still essentially a movie that exists to gawk at someone's grief. There's something very fundamentally ugly about it.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#9 Post by Michael Kerpan » Sun Dec 11, 2016 11:41 pm

Most boomers will have only foggy memories of the real events. Parents of boomers will have stronger memories -- but even those who are still with us are not likely to make up a big part of any potential audience. It happened long enough ago that it is legitimate fodder for cinematic revisiting.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#10 Post by Brian C » Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:30 am

I dunno. My mom was 12 when Kennedy was killed, and it seems like her connection to "Camelot" is all the more stronger because she only has foggy memories of the real events - easier for the mythology to take hold because of it. I've seen her tear up talking about Kennedy several times in my life and I suspect that this movie will be a big emotional wringer for her.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#11 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:58 am

Maybe the aim is to juxtapose what she must have been going through inside, to the image the media superimposed on her of this dignified widow. And grief, as most anyone can tell you here, can be anything but dignified.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#12 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:57 am

The justification for this film, one I didn't necessarily like all that much, lies in showing how shrewd Jackie Kennedy was so close to her husband's death in understanding how important it was for his legacy, for her, and for the country to do a good deal of myth making and crafting of his legacy and the legacy of their time in the White House. The interview sequences, which I thought were the weakest points ironically enough, are sort of the reason this film exists - to show how much agency she had in the crafting of the Camelot narrative not only during the presidency (with things like the television special on redecorating the White House), but immediately following it. It's a sort of obtuse reason to make a film that rehashes all of this stuff, but it's what I interpreted as this film's reason for being.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#13 Post by Lars Von Truffaut » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:09 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:Maybe the aim is to juxtapose what she must have been going through inside, to the image the media superimposed on her of this dignified widow. And grief, as most anyone can tell you here, can be anything but dignified.
This is exactly it. Watched Jackie last week and it exceeded my expectations. I too never had much of an association with her - as opposed to someone like my mother who can remember the day, place, and time it was when John was assassinated. There is a certain formula that most biopics follow (and is often what keeps me at bay), but for the majority of this film I felt Larrain avoided those trappings. The confident mise-en-scène, evocative score, witty script, supporting performance from John Hurt, and strong lead female playing a grief stricken character brought to mind what a von Trier biopic might look like*.

*He'd have to be directing from some self-imposed Dogme straightjacket, obviously.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#14 Post by Brian C » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:39 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:Maybe the aim is to juxtapose what she must have been going through inside, to the image the media superimposed on her of this dignified widow. And grief, as most anyone can tell you here, can be anything but dignified.
Isn't this just a fancy way of restating what I said, though?

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#15 Post by Black Hat » Tue Jan 03, 2017 3:47 am

Have to say I'm surprised at how polarizing this one's been for critics, specifically those down on the film.

Personally I went into this with very low expectations thinking it was going to be your standard biofilm puffery, but instead found myself blown away by how wrapped up in it I was. Larraín's use of subtle edits with extreme close ups was a perfect way to express the introspection a story like this needed. This wasn't a biopic it was about showing how arguably the greatest shock of the 20th Century impacted the woman most intimately connected to the event. The woman being a person who after this trauma largely left the public eye keeping herself and her children a mystery. It's a challenge to have an audience connect to a character study of a well known public figure famous for her unwillingness to be studied. The trickiest aspect is to do this while keeping your character's integrity to the real life person intact. To this end I thought Natalie Portman, who I've never thought much of, gave a magnificent performance. Her portrayal, far from an impression, struck me as a perfect mix of absurd high class dignity fighting against real emotions — what people of her class should never show — of indignation and anger. Micachu's score while to some bombastic I felt only amplified what were the rawest of nerves, it was supposed to be jarring. I'm no Kennedy buff, nor was I anywhere close to being born at the time of his assassination, but for all the articles & books published, documentaries, news specials and films produced outside of the same few anecdotes I don't recall ever hearing much of what it was like for Jackie or much about her personality after watching Larraín's film I now feel connected to her.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#16 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:42 pm

I saw this and Manchester by the Sea back-to-back the other night, and if you had told me beforehand that Jackie would make my top five for the year so far, while Manchester wouldn't make my top ten, I'd have been extremely skeptical.

Like others here and elsewhere, my expectations were pretty low going in and I wasn't prepared at all for how compelling and moving I found this film. As most are saying, Portman is excellent and Mica Levi's score is striking, but for me the deepest impression was made by Pablo Larrain and his cinematographer and editor (Stephane Fontaine - quietly becoming one of the more notable DPs around - and Sebastian Sepulveda, respectively), who juxtapose various discordant and gorgeously filmed moments pre-, post-, and mid-assassination in a way that engaged me far more deeply than a more standard approach otherwise might have. To Black Hat's point above, that the film and Portman's performance very much emphasize not only her grief but her anger and feelings of isolation (toward specific people, God, and the country, and both before and after the assassination) are to the film's credit. One of the year's most surprising entries on my Best Of list.

I have to say, I don't get the hand-wringing above about the justification for this project's existence; how many films about grief or trauma - non-fiction or otherwise, about very public events or otherwise - could be hit with the same charge as existing "to gawk at someone's grief"? One of the most powerful roles of film (or any artistic effort) is to allow the audience to empathize with a person or circumstance entirely alien to their own lives and experiences; maybe some people distastefully gawk at the depiction of Jackie Kennedy's grief in this film the way some people like watching war movies because other people's suffering excites them, but it doesn't diminish the film's value or earn it a label of grief porn.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#17 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:12 pm

My wife and I (both of us old enough to remember Kennedy's murder) also went to see Jackie. We were both duly impressed. Thought Portman was excellent (and also really enjoyed John Hurt as her priest/friend). I saw the central topic here as dealing with pain. And I was surprised at how sad _I_ felt through virtually the entire film. Looking forward very much to Neruda...

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#18 Post by Brian C » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:24 pm

DarkImbecile wrote:I saw this and Manchester by the Sea back-to-back the other night, and if you had told me beforehand that Jackie would make my top five for the year so far, while Manchester wouldn't make my top ten, I'd have been extremely skeptical.

Like others here and elsewhere, my expectations were pretty low going in and I wasn't prepared at all for how compelling and moving I found this film. As most are saying, Portman is excellent and Mica Levi's score is striking, but for me the deepest impression was made by Pablo Larrain and his cinematographer and editor (Stephane Fontaine - quietly becoming one of the more notable DPs around - and Sebastian Sepulveda, respectively), who juxtapose various discordant and gorgeously filmed moments pre-, post-, and mid-assassination in a way that engaged me far more deeply than a more standard approach otherwise might have. To Black Hat's point above, that the film and Portman's performance very much emphasize not only her grief but her anger and feelings of isolation (toward specific people, God, and the country, and both before and after the assassination) are to the film's credit. One of the year's most surprising entries on my Best Of list.

I have to say, I don't get the hand-wringing above about the justification for this project's existence; how many films about grief or trauma - non-fiction or otherwise, about very public events or otherwise - could be hit with the same charge as existing "to gawk at someone's grief"? One of the most powerful roles of film (or any artistic effort) is to allow the audience to empathize with a person or circumstance entirely alien to their own lives and experiences; maybe some people distastefully gawk at the depiction of Jackie Kennedy's grief in this film the way some people like watching war movies because other people's suffering excites them, but it doesn't diminish the film's value or earn it a label of grief porn.
I'm not sure how I can answer that without basically restating what I've already said, but I'll take a shot at it.

Imagine - it shouldn't be that hard - a supermarket tabloid with the headlines screaming "INSIDE JACKIE'S GRIEF AFTER JFK ASSASSINATION!" What would you expect to read about in that kind of story, in that context? How different would it be, in terms of content, than what we're given with this movie?

It's true that Larrain's film has a sophisticated arthouse style, but to what end? What does this movie have to say about grief that we wouldn't get from that tabloid story? For that matter, how is Jackie's circumstances "alien to [our] own lives and experiences?" All of us have faced grief, most of us have faced the kind of sudden, overwhelming grief that comes with the unexpected loss of a loved one.

One might say that Jackie had to face her grief as a public figure, and that makes it different. And I suppose that's a fair point, but how can one truly empathize with the difficulty she faces being a public figure, while in turn not feeling a little uneasy about the violation of what little privacy she has while watching a movie about her private moments? There seems to be an inherent hypocrisy at work there.

And that's why I use the word "gawk". The real Jackie is long dead, of course, but still we're dealing with a real-life story about overwhelming personal tragedy. And watching the film, it was very hard for me to shake the feeling that very real and very personal suffering was being exploited for no discernible reason. It's a tabloid movie about inherently tabloid subject matter, and I didn't see why it should be let off that hook just because it's a stylish art film.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#19 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:09 am

Brian C -- Of course you have the right to perceive this in any way you wish. And it is clear that no amount of "debate" is going to budge you from your reaction. But, speaking as a very ancillary "survivor" -- I perceive nothing at all of what you describe. Perhaps, Caroline Kennedy might have some standing to complain (but I've heard nothing on this score), but I can't quite understand the virulence of your reaction.

Besides, lots of art deals with people's tragedies and pain.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#20 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:28 am

Brian C wrote:
DarkImbecile wrote:I have to say, I don't get the hand-wringing above about the justification for this project's existence; how many films about grief or trauma - non-fiction or otherwise, about very public events or otherwise - could be hit with the same charge as existing "to gawk at someone's grief"? One of the most powerful roles of film (or any artistic effort) is to allow the audience to empathize with a person or circumstance entirely alien to their own lives and experiences; maybe some people distastefully gawk at the depiction of Jackie Kennedy's grief in this film the way some people like watching war movies because other people's suffering excites them, but it doesn't diminish the film's value or earn it a label of grief porn.
I'm not sure how I can answer that without basically restating what I've already said, but I'll take a shot at it.

Imagine - it shouldn't be that hard - a supermarket tabloid with the headlines screaming "INSIDE JACKIE'S GRIEF AFTER JFK ASSASSINATION!" What would you expect to read about in that kind of story, in that context? How different would it be, in terms of content, than what we're given with this movie?

It's true that Larrain's film has a sophisticated arthouse style, but to what end? What does this movie have to say about grief that we wouldn't get from that tabloid story? For that matter, how is Jackie's circumstances "alien to [our] own lives and experiences?" All of us have faced grief, most of us have faced the kind of sudden, overwhelming grief that comes with the unexpected loss of a loved one.

One might say that Jackie had to face her grief as a public figure, and that makes it different. And I suppose that's a fair point, but how can one truly empathize with the difficulty she faces being a public figure, while in turn not feeling a little uneasy about the violation of what little privacy she has while watching a movie about her private moments? There seems to be an inherent hypocrisy at work there.

And that's why I use the word "gawk". The real Jackie is long dead, of course, but still we're dealing with a real-life story about overwhelming personal tragedy. And watching the film, it was very hard for me to shake the feeling that very real and very personal suffering was being exploited for no discernible reason. It's a tabloid movie about inherently tabloid subject matter, and I didn't see why it should be let off that hook just because it's a stylish art film.
Not to diminish or disregard your entirely legitimate reaction to this, but the concerns you raise sound like they would be more fitting for a documentary based on surreptitious recordings or some similar real-world intrusion into someone's privacy during their grieving, not an artistic interpretation of the experiences of a historical figure half a century ago. I wonder if that sense of exploitation and violative intrusion you experienced doesn't speak to the quality of the film and its lead performance (not that recognizing that quality would make it feel any less distasteful to you, based on what you've written).

Have you had the same reaction to other films about similarly tragic or inherently private real-life events, like the scenes regarding MLK's infidelity in Selma or something like United 93?

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#21 Post by Brian C » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:06 am

I actually did have that strong reaction against both films, yes. The Selma stuff seemed like straight-up sheet-sniffing to me; I actually really admired the FAA scenes of that film, but the scenes on the plane itself were pretty ghastly.

Again, I would be cautious of films that sound ripped from National Enquirer headlines: "INSIDE MLK'S INFIDELITIES!" "THE FINAL THOUGHTS OF FLIGHT 93 PASSENGERS REVEALED!" They can be dressed up as tastefully as a talented filmmaker can dress them up, but they're still stories that appeal to very base parts of ourselves.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#22 Post by Michael Kerpan » Wed Jan 11, 2017 1:30 am

I see nothing sensationalistic about Jackie. Rather, it is an examination -- looking at the public facts, how did the lead "actor" during this very short period come to act in the way she did. Larrain faces the problem that Mrs. Kennedy was extraordinarily opaque in her public-facing persona -- at all times, before, during and after the Kennedy murder -- and tries to build the hypothetical individual that existed within this public persona. Sophisticated, intelligent and moving. But then maybe my judgment is skewed by a lifetime of opera fandom -- where the stock in trade is suffering along with (and or tryong to understand) suffering heroines.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#23 Post by Magic Hate Ball » Sat Jan 28, 2017 2:56 pm

I thought this was a really nice film that rose above a flawed script. Some parts were a little lurid (blammo! brains everywhere!) but the overall impression was of grand psychological tragedy. You see her not only trying to find her role, but trying to create her role, and then trying to accept her role - essentially, at least as she sees it, she only has a scant handful of hours in which to solidify the legacy and security of her husband and herself. She kind of has to kill herself to make sure she can live.

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Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#24 Post by movielocke » Sun Jan 29, 2017 4:42 am

I didn't like it.

Portman is superb, going intense and balls to the wall for the entire film. It is incredibly impressive that she starts the film at maximum level and maintains that level without modulating it for the entire film and manages to make that work.

but the script oscillates between on-the-nose and hammer-to-the-head-directness, and the whole thing is rather dull as a result, after the first half hour I didn't think it was possible for Portman to lose, by the end of the film I was less impressed.

I love the idea of the film, focusing on Jackie's grief and agency within a world that doesn't want to acknowledge either, but the execution of that did not cohere in my opinion.

The score and costumes were excellent, sarsgard was excellent especially when he was seen and not heard (because the dialog was so bad).

i am semi seriously wondering if they went with a foreign director because he couldn't tell how bad the dialog was so he didn't pass on the script as I presume other directors did.

And the directing and editing is pretty bad. It isn't just the editor, because the coverage of scenes and blocking of same means the directing is driving the choices here, as one would expect for a film with more close ups than les miserable. I was particularly unimpressed by the cute and coy and LOOK AT ME IM AN ARTIST editing (the Ozu tribute was adorable in the opening interview scene, and since he didn't bother to maintain the style throughout said one off style choice is nothing more than a very clever way for the director to remind you to pay attention to HIM, the director, not her, his main character, he's the real star of the show don't you know) and coverage and editing of a lot of different scenes was similarly cute and LOUD in how atrociously it was foregrounding directorial style over screen or story content. It was continually irritating and probably contributed to my steadily declining opinion of the film as it went on.

Bad work overall with a good central performance, it reminds me of Elizabeth the golden age.

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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#25 Post by tehthomas » Tue Jan 31, 2017 12:16 pm

movielocke wrote: The score and costumes were excellent, sarsgard was excellent especially when he was seen and not heard (because the dialog was so bad).
Interesting point on Sarsgaard. I thought he was underwhelming in the film because he didn't embody RFK vocally, he didn't have that Massachusetts accent so I would say it wasn't necessarily due to bad dialog, but aesthetically he did sort of "resemble" him from afar which would play into the "seen and not heard" point. Perhaps Sarsgaard pulling a "Mayor Quimby" would've been too over the top for this film so he took a subtle route, but it just bothered me that he sounded nothing like him. On the other hand, John Carroll Lynch did not have many lines as LBJ, but he was effective to me, he captured the "presence" of the man.

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