Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt, Richard E. Grant
Directed by: Pablo Larraín
Written by: Noah Oppenheim
Rating: R Running Time: 1 hr 40 min.
On this trip to the movies I was joined by my friends, John, Kim, and Esther. John and Kim were more versed in the Kennedy history than myself and Esther.
There’s a lot to unpack in this movie. Here we have a wife, mother and First Lady, dealing with the brutal (and brutally realized in this film) death of her husband, in addition to the political and personal aftermath in the days following. She’s got duties to perform, expectations to meet, legacies to protect, and opinions to navigate, and oh yeah, process the fact that her children are fatherless, and the man she loved died in her arms. It’s mind blowing when you really stop to think about it, and this film seems very aware of that.
Thank goodness Natalie Portman brought her A game. She is the movie. Portman’s performance transforms what would have been a slightly unconventional biopic, into something really special. The film hops back and forth in and around the assassination timeline, covering every aspect of the central character’s journey. As it does, the audience gets a pretty thorough account of the events during that tumultuous time in history. And perhaps will gain a greater appreciation of the First Lady’s reactions and choices as she scrambles to process the event, and protect her family’s legacy.
The tone of this film is dark. Kennedy’s assassination is shockingly realized (like you’re in the car with them). This is a must see for Natalie Portman fans.
Natalie Portman. She is simply superb in this film. A must-see performance.