Thanks to a new film starring Natalie Portman, American political family Kennedy is back in the limelight again. The Oscar-winning actress is playing the role of former US first lady Jackie Kennedy in a soon to be released film titled 'Jackie'.
Having been filmed in America as well as France and Chile, the biographical film traces Jacqueline Kennedy's life in the events preceding and following her husband's assassination. The film is complete with shots showing Portman wearing the same pink suit and pillbox hat which Jackie wore on a fateful afternoon when President John F. Kennedy was shot in Texas. The film begins in 1963, the same year in which President Kennedy was assassinated.
'Jackie' is a searing and intimate portrait of one of the most important and tragic moments in American history, seen through the eyes of the iconic First Lady, the Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (Natalie Portman)
A second Oscar for Portman?
Following her performance in the upcoming film which has received wide acclaim, the 'Black Swan' actress is being tipped for a second Academy Award win. Portman won an Oscar in 2011 for her ballerina role in 'Black Swan'. She had gotten nominated in the Best Actress category. This recent role will be her third Oscar nomination. Her other nomination was in 2005 in the Best Supporting Actress category for the film 'Closer'.
It remains to be seen whether Portman will beat the likes of Jessica Chastain to walk away with an Oscar next year. 39-year-old Chastain is also being linked to a possible Oscar win following her impressive performance as the titular character in the yet to be released 'Miss Sloane' film. She will definitely give Portman a run for her money in the Best Actress Oscar category.
In preparation for the role, Portman studied Jackie Kennedy extensively by watching videos of her, repeatedly watching White House tour recordings, reading books, and listening to audiotapes of her interviews. She also read around twenty of her biographies, which she did not consider high literature
The upcoming film has previously been screened at two major film platforms. It has been screened at the Venice Film Festival where it won the best screenplay award and also at the Toronto International Film Festival where it scooped the Platform Prize. It is these previous screenings coupled with teaser trailers that have got people praising Portman's performance and even the movie at large.
Natalie Portman and Pablo Larraín walk the red carpet while attending the premiere of film 'Jackie' during the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival on September 2016
Portman's A game
Ever since the film premiered at the film festivals and the production team embarked on trailer release, Portman has never been in shortage of praises directed her way for her perfectly executed role as the former American First Lady. The mom of one who is currently expectant has been lauded for her epic vocal delivery and them way she showcased a demure and collected image that was needed for the character she is playing. Just like Jackie Kennedy remained calm and collected all through her loss and grief, Portman has showcased a similar performance.
Portman's performance has been hailed by leading film review and media quarters. Among networks who have kind words for her include IndieWire which described her as an emotional superconductor, the Guardian which her performance as altogether astounding, and the HollywoodReporter which said her delivery was incandescent.
In response to queries about her role, 35-year-old Portman has admitted that she initially felt threatened by the enormity of the character she had to bring out. She has explained she prepared for the role by sourcing for and going through any material she could lay her hands on pertaining to Jackie's media interviews.
The project was announced as directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Rachel Weisz as Jackie Kennedy. Both dropped out but Aronofsky remained as a producer
A buzz around the upcoming film
The upcoming film has stirred up excitement among movie lovers. Its recently released trailer has so far attracted close to one million views on YouTube. It has got people and the media alike talking about the film and anticipating its release. Gina Vivinetto of Today as described the movie as being completely historically accurate while her counterpart who works for Vulture, Devon Ivie, has called for the Oscar sirens to be set off.
About the trailer
The recently released trailer starts with a rendition of the 'Camelot' song sung by Richard Burton. For those who are familiar with U.S history, President John F. Kennedy tenure is popularly referred to as the Camelot era. The late president is said to have been fond of playing the Camelot song before retiring to bed. His widow also compared his days in the White House to those of King Arthur's Camelot. After the beautiful tunes of the song fade away, the trailer shows viewers clips of Jackie Kennedy washing off blood stains from her body as well as other grim scenes pertaining to the president's funeral.
The upcoming film will be released in the United States on 2 December 2016
The film mainly revolves around former First Lady Jackie Kennedy's grievance following her husband's assassination. For those who know about the events following President Kennedy's assassination, his widow Jackie Kennedy, first of all, refused to take off the suit she had been wearing when the president was assassinated in her presence. She did this so as to let the perpetrators know how gross the act they had done to her and her family was. She also did this to signify that the old Jackie was gone.
Another thing which the former First Lady also did after her husband's assassination was to be present by Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson's side as he was being sworn in to replace the fallen leader as the president of the United States of America. In addition to this, Kennedy also took an active role in planning for a decent send off for her late husband, one that would cement his legacy over the three years he was in office.
A different way of telling the story
'Jackie's' director Pablo Larraín has taken a different twist in telling the story of the iconic lady Jacqueline Lee Kennedy. Instead of telling it according to known historical facts, he and his screenplay writer Noah Oppenheim have added some parts which initially weren't there in an attempt to give viewers a glimpse of who Jackie was as a person away from her public image. They have for example included a scene where the First Lady is swallowing pills and drinking alcohol to help her numb the pain of her husband's demise. These alterations may not go well with those who hold the belief that stories about historical figures must be told entirely as per the known facts about them. This will likely earn the film criticism.
Israeli-American actress Natalie Portman is joined on the set of Jackie by Caspar Phillipson who plays the late U.S president's role. He and Portman are further joined by Peter Sarsgaard who acts as the president's brother Robert F. Kennedy and John Caroll Lynch and Beth Grant who star as President Lyndon B. Johnson and his wife Lady Bird Johnson respectively.
Brody and Aiden Weinberg feature as John F. Kennedy Jr while Sunnie Pelant features as his older sister Caroline Kennedy. Other casts include Julie Judd, George Glen, Rebecca Compton, John Hurt, Billy Crudup, Richard E. Grant, Max Casella, and Greta Gerwig.
Chilean director Pablo Larraín made his English film directing debut with the upcoming film. This is coming following his success with the film Neruda. Larraín has teamed up in Jackie with American filmmaker Darren Aronofsky who serves as the film's producer. Here is a look at Larraín's team:
Director: Pablo Larraín
Producers: Darren Aronofsky, Mickey Liddell, Juan de Dios Larraín, and Scott Franklin
Screenplay: Noah Oppenheim
Cinematography: Stéphane Fontaine
Editor: Sebastián Sepúlveda
Music: Mica Levi
The film is produced by five companies among them LD Entertainment and Why Not Productions. It will be distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures.