I dont always agree with it (Nocturnal Animals being a recent example!), but I really enjoy the passion in your analyses and views.domino harvey wrote:Not just the best film of 2016, but the best in years and years. JFK wasn’t much of a president, and I can’t pretend I ever spent much time thinking of Jackie O., but Jackie is a masterpiece, full of richness in its themes and approach, anchored by a transformative central performance, and so beautifully shot and scored that the film itself as a whole reflects the deck-stacked existence of its subjects.
No was one of the best films of the year it was released, but Jackie takes Larrain to the plane of all-time greatness. I can't even fathom how he pulled off what this film achieves, melding historical accuracy (the film is fully transportive to the era without indulging in period fetishization— this alone qualifies it for deification) with an honest face-value appraisal of grief as filtered through the public eye (one always there, even in private). But beyond even that, the film is a reclamation of the surface, a film that sides with the pretty people, but without empty ego flattery. Jackie deeply understands our social betters (be they beautiful, rich, powerful, or all three) and is honest about it. No wonder the film is so polarizing, we still live in a world where many of us are immunized to even acknowledging there is such a thing!
The film gives us the strains and stresses of always being on, of living the life of the eternal deb and how the shifting spotlight is itself a second death. These are different concerns than the grief that inhibits, say, Manchester by the Sea, but no less valid. Natalie Portman, in a performance that perhaps can only be embodied by someone who herself grew up in the public eye and never left, is tremendous at being Jackie Kennedy, in the same way Ben Kingsley was Gandhi-- it stops being representational and becomes reality. Any historical drama could give us the facts or a fair narrative conjecture of what did or did not really happen. Who cares, this film says, here’s how it all felt, as experienced by someone primed by life to be the First Lady, yet lacking the emotional resources to be the First Widow. It is a film that sells the powerlessness of death better than any I’ve ever seen, and it does so in a fashion of rescuing the Better Thans from the easier vantages of superiority, phony “understanding,” or necrotic idol worship. There is not an ounce of false sentiment, not a speck of misplaced reverence, and yet the end result is one of cemented legacy all over again. Camelot was and briefly is again.
But on this one, I wholeheartedly agree. For me, much more than Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea, this managed to successfully convey conflicting emotions and tones concurrently. And Portman was nothing short of astonishing. I also walked out of it unable to comprehend how one would even begin to put together such a portrayal.