‘Jackie’ Puts Natalie Portman in the Oscar Race With December Release
Glowing reviews of Jackie have been pouring in from TIFF, where Pablo Larrain debuted his biopic about the eponymous First Lady, starring Natalie Portman in a role that will undoubtedly secure the actress an Oscar nomination — if Jackie hits theaters in time. And it looks like it will, as Fox Searchlight has secured the distribution rights to the buzzy biopic, with plans to release Jackie this December, right in the middle of awards season.
Our own Erin Whitney described Larrain’s intimate biopic as “a piercing portrait of a woman’s psychological and emotional journey” that “shatters the polished presentations of most biopics.” Erin went on to compare Portman’s performance to her Oscar-nominated turn in Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan; Aronofsky is also one of the credited producers on Jackie.
Fox Searchlight swiftly secured the rights to Jackie out of TIFF, and will release the film on December 9, all-but-guaranteeing Portman an Oscar nod. It shouldn’t be long before the first official trailer arrives, but this new clip from the film offers a fine preview of Portman’s performance as the bereaved First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy:
Larrain’s film also stars Billy Crudup, Greta Gerwig, Peter Sarsgaard, John Carroll Lynch and John Hurt, and features an original score from composer Mica Levi — best known for her jarring, mesmerizing work on Under the Skin.
And here’s the (rather lengthy) synopsis for Jackie from TIFF:
The assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 was one of those moments that defined a generation. That this handsome, charismatic leader with a beautiful wife and two young children could have his life ended so brutally defied comprehension.
With Jackie, Pablo Larraín makes a brave choice by retelling this story solely through the eyes of Jacqueline Kennedy, casting Natalie Portman in a lead performance that is deeply intelligent and carefully measured. Jackie was as romantic a public figure as her husband, an outwardly poised partner who was placed under great scrutiny yet played her role with consummate grace. Structuring his film around Theodore H. White's LIFE magazine interview with the First Lady at Hyannis Port a mere week after the assassination, Larraín plunges us into the devastation using a series of finely crafted flashbacks that cover the fateful day in Dallas, Jackie's return to the White House, arrangements for the President's funeral, and her time spent accompanying her husband's coffin to Arlington Cemetery.
These sequences complete a moving portrait of a grieving woman — a widow and mother struggling with overwhelming tragedy and attention. Yet the core of the film is formed by quiet, profoundly intimate moments: Jackie's conversations with her children, her brother-in-law Robert Kennedy (Peter Sarsgaard, also at the Festival in The Magnificent Seven), one of her aides (Greta Gerwig), journalist White (Billy Crudup), and a Catholic priest (John Hurt).
With the utmost care and restraint, Larraín depicts one half of the couple who inhabited America's short-lived but still mythic time of "Camelot" — the woman who, in fact, coined that very expression. The director has moved beyond his native Chile to deliver a magnificent recreation of a defining moment in US politics and lore, and the woman we all knew as Jackie.