Intensely affecting and insistently protean, the film “Jackie” is a reminder that for a time she was bigger than any star, bigger than Marilyn or Liz. She was the Widow — an embodiment of grief, symbol of strength, tower of dignity and, crucially, architect of brilliant political theatre. Hers was also a spectacularly reproducible image.
“Jackie” doesn’t try to complete that impossible, apparently unfinishable movie, the never-ending epic known as “The Assassination of President John F. Kennedy and What It Means to History.” Instead, set largely after his death, it explores the intersection of the private and the public while ruminating on the transformation of the past into myth.
It also pulls off a nice representational coup because it proves that the problem known as the Movie Wife — you know her, the little lady hovering at the edge of both the frame and story — can be solved with thought and good filmmaking. And as in Warhol’s Jackie portraits, John F. Kennedy is somewhat of a bit player here.
The Telegraph: "Natalie Portman is mesmerising as America's First Widow." (4 stars)
The Guardian: "a dizzying kaleidoscope of reconstruction, reportage and reinvention that mirrors its heroine’s fragmented state of mind in the days surrounding JFK’s death. At its heart is an extraordinary performance by Natalie Portman as the icon caught in the eye of a violent storm of grief, politics and media management." (4 stars)
The Sunday Times: "It takes a lot of precision and effort to make something feel this exciting and this mad. Brilliant." (5 stars)