Jackie (2016)

'Jackie' is an intimate, rip-to-the-soul portrait of Jackie Kennedy in the days after the assassination of John F Kennedy. And it is incredibly sad in that portrait. It is narrated in the words of Jackie on what happens just after that assassination and the funeral and the aftermath.

The movie focuses on the three days after the assassination and the funeral thereafter. It tells in details the trails of Jackie and how she managed the kids in between - John Jr. happens to have a birthday the day after the assassination.

My introduction to John F Kennedy started with mom telling me about the days of his presidency and how everyone was glued to the radio following his assassination. John F Kennedy brought a whiff of fresh air and a level of optimism in the world which triggered a heavy backlash following his assassination.

Jackie as the first lady brought a level of finesse and fashion into the White house which again took a back seat with more traditional first ladies following her. There is a reference to the Kennedys being royalty and of course, they were royalty in that sense that they were the first family who were photogenic and who exploited the power of television.

When Jackie plans to have the funeral as a procession with a parade and with her in black leading the way in the full eyes of the world, she is doing exactly that. Build that mystic element around JFK and record his death for future history.

The incredible optimism of the JFK years ended with his death and the turbulent 60's began with Vietnam, the civil rights agitations, generally student unrests across the world and chaos. So it is proper that he died a such a violent death to herald the years of agitations and resistance movements that followed, which brought in more violence and deaths across.

The tragic legacy of that one family - in the deaths, the controversies and the mystery and excitement the Kennedy name evokes - remain today unchallenged by any other one group or people or family.

Natalie Portman brings in a deeply personal performance - in her struggle to handle the tragedy and the kids, fiercely fighting to define the legacy for her husband and in building that aura of charm around him quickly. She looks vulnerable at the moments of her grief and fiercely vocal in her planning for the funeral with Bobby and the Johnson administration.

When I read back, I realize that how this has become more about the Kennedys than the movie. I think it happens all the time for everyone who have studied or written about the Kennedy family. It is difficult not to be captivated by that.

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