Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

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nitin
Joined: Sat Nov 08, 2014 6:49 am

Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#51 Post by nitin » Sat Mar 25, 2017 8:32 am

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.
I dont always agree with it (Nocturnal Animals being a recent example!), but I really enjoy the passion in your analyses and views.

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.

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Black Hat
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:34 pm
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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#52 Post by Black Hat » Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:47 pm

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.
I agree with much of what you wrote here hitting on many of the same themes in my own post on the first page of this thread, but have two minor quibbles.

First, I don't think the polarized reception to this from everything I heard had anything to do with a lack of understanding our 'social betters'. In fact I think you lauding it in this way in a ways lumps you in the same ways you're praising the film for I suppose exposing, but that's tangential. People's issue with this film had mostly to due with Kennedy fatigue or rich people problems fatigue, 'do we really need another movie about it?', 'what's the point?'. Then people had issues with the stylization of it which is obviously a matter of taste.

Second, Natalie Portman's level of being in the public eye is completely different than Jackie Kennedy's was and thinking maybe attaining celebrity at a young age is the only way this could have been pulled off is a big stretch. The latter was a beloved global icon of beauty, style and grace existing in a world unsaturated by stardom living under scrutiny & pressure we can not begin to imagine. Natalie Portman's never even come close to achieving that level of fame nor had a husband contemplating the use of nuclear weapons. I'd also add Natalie Portman rubs a lot of people the wrong way, many don't even feel she's good at what she does. The only people who maybe had the life experience to help relate to Jackie Kennedy were Princess Diana & Princess Grace and even then I'd say the latter two were far more relatable to one another than they were to Kennedy.

Like I said minor quibbles, but I agree Jackie was a pretty marvelous achievement.

It'll never happen but I'd go see a sequel to this about her life with Onasis. Who knows maybe Netflix will pony up the cash for a limited run series, I can see Larrain's sensibilities working far better in television than in film,

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#53 Post by Michael Kerpan » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:22 pm

I think this and Neruda are excellent companion pieces. I am still trying to figure out whether what I saw of Larrain's methods in Neruda should cause me to re-assess just what was going on in Jackie. ;-)

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#54 Post by knives » Tue Jul 18, 2017 5:29 pm

I'm not entirely certain this film entirely succeeds with Dom's idea especially since Jackie's presentation with this overlap with Rossellini's The Taking of Power which for me is one of the best films of all time. The one really novel moment in the idea of the Kennedys being unique and special in this moment (as soon after she tells the reporter in one of many overly expository scenes) is RFK telling LBJ to sit down. This idea of importance superseding authority and power is really compelling in this moment. The script plays with this a few times, but perhaps too linearly for my taste. I'm sure it is true to fact that Kennedy's concern was with a future legacy, but the mechanics of the now strike me as more compellingly done.

What I found to be the real greatness of the film (which admittedly for now I'm more in the pool of good if not special on the whole) is as Dom (really complete look at the film there) said the idea of Jackie as emotionally built to be first lady, but not a widow. That's where Portman stands out (in the special people theme RFK strikes me as better used) as she presents an inflexible and perhaps immature woman who because of that lack of adaptation manages to get all she knows she needs (but seemingly doesn't want). Like with a lot of Portman's other performances the vocal inflection was initially something I couldn't gel with, but as she went on it worked to a very satisfying whole due to the physical attributes of her performance.

In general I think what keeps me away from the film is the exposition which is really far too excessive, but the one instance where I thought it worked was the final confession with Hurt at about the 80 minute mark. It lays out all the themes well and functions within the narrative in an exciting way. The reporter conversely just seemed there to make things explicit in the most obvious way and the film didn't really need that. Running with the ending his whole thing about her being the mother and her response to that is just seconds later better executed with her starring at JFK during the television interview.


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mfunk9786
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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#56 Post by mfunk9786 » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:01 am

Ronan Farrow spends an unusual amount of time tearing this movie a new one in his book about the Weinstein scandal, and I learned something new - the writer of this film is the president of NBC News

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Black Hat
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:34 pm
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Re: Jackie (Pablo Larrain, 2016)

#57 Post by Black Hat » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:33 am

Whenever Ronan Farrow gets cancelled I'm here for it.

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