Movie Review: Jackie

On no less than 5 occasions during this film/documentary named Jackie about the life of Jackie Kennedy which is about the short 2 years as First Lady and the days during and following the assassination of the John F Kennedy in November 1963, there is the playing of this sickening sound of violins that seems out of tune and then fade slowly downward. I assume that this sickening sound is by design to somehow put to music what had to be a nauseating time for Jackie Kennedy to have to live through; that is to witness at close range the assassination of her own husband. One has to wonder how this poor woman survived her own life, which started out as charmed and then from age 31 until the end of her life 33 years later had to be agonizing just about every day. Losing one child while pregnant and another child who lived only 39 days. Realizing that her husband was cheating on her constantly, and then having to relive a horrible assassination as her husband’s blood and brains were all over her while riding in a Limousine that inexplicably had no roof in Dallas Texas on November 22, 1963. Then after all of this, trying to make peace with a tragic Presidential Assassination that could have been prevented so easily by just using some very basic common sense. What were they all thinking in November 1963, when their security jobs were all about protecting the life of the President and First Lady? What were they all thinking and how could they live with themselves after this tragic day happened?

Jackie had to be thinking, during her many hundreds of sleepless nights, if only we had lost the election in 1960 then everything would have been OK, if only if we lost that election. The election of 1960 between Kennedy and Nixon was one of the closest in terms of popular vote in American history, only about 100,000 votes difference. Had Nixon won, then Kennedy would not be president and she would still have her husband and her children would not be under the constant attacks from the vile press, who never gave her or her children a moments peace. During the years after her husband was murdered, she had to be worried about her remaining two children and the danger the were probably in for the rest of their lives.

The movie Jackie is really a documentary about Jackie Kennedy talking about her life as first lady and then the days before during and after the assassination of her husband. Many of these scenes are very hard to watch and it is remarkable that any person could have gone through what Jackie Kennedy went through during this time in her life and then having to raise two young children on her own. Jackie’s remaining life, which is not covered in this movie, was all about protecting her children and included even marrying for money. Throughout this movie, which included an interview with a man who was going to write an article about her, Jackie Kennedy, played extremely well by Natalie Portman, as are many of the other cast, there is constant chain smoking. I know the time period of this movie was the 60’s when it was not known the extensive health effects of smoking, but the amount of smoking in this movie I thought was far too much.

There are a number of points in this movie where Jackie is trying to figure out her own life, at one point telling a priest played by John Hurt, that “my kids have no use for me, all I want to do is be with my husband”, what is the point? I remember thinking at this moment that perhaps the point of her life was all about being an inspiration to millions of other people in the world who are hurting, who look to Jackie Kennedy as a survivor and if she can go through this much horror in her life, then just maybe I can survive just one more day. In the end, Jackie Kennedy only lived to be 64 years old, dying of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. One can only wonder how long she would have lived had they never won that election in 1960. In the end, as they say repeatedly in this movie, there was only one Camelot. One can also thank God that Jackie Kennedy was not alive to see her son die in a horrible plane crash in 1999. You just had to figure that that would be more tragedy in one lifetime that even she could survive.

I highly recommend this movie, and it is a guarantee that Natalie Portman will be nominated for best actress.

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