Most critics had their eye on “Jackie” heading into the fall film festivals, but few predicted it would ultimately be one of the season’s best offerings. The movie has all the makings of an Oscar-baiting biopic (casting Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy will do that), but in the hands of both the actress and Pablo Larraín, the talented Chilean filmmaker whose become one of cinema’s most gifted historical investigators, “Jackie” is something all the more daring and experimental.
Larraín structures the narrative around Jackie’s interview with LIFE magazine reporter Theodore H. White, which took place just a week after her husband’s assassination. Still in mourning but with no choice but to face the country, Jackie relives pivotal moments from the chaos leading up to and following that fateful day. Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, John Hurt and Max Casella co-star.
In an A- review out of the Venice Film Festival, IndieWire critic Ben Croll raved, “For his English-language debut, director Pablo Larrain has taken that most impersonal of genres – the three-handkerchief biopic – and delivered something that is bracingly, gloriously and entirely his own. Running counter to convention at nearly every turn, and anchored by Natalie Portman’s achy-eyed performance, ‘Jackie’ is about the best version of this story you can get.”
All of the raves for Portman on the festival circuit have thrown her into the year’s Oscar race for Best Actress. Fox Searchlight acquired the drama out of TIFF and set an awards-friendly December 9 release date. “Jackie” will have its U.S. premiere at NYFF next week. Watch the debut trailer below.