By: Ryann Casey
Academy Award winning Natalie Portman stars in Jackie, the dramatic biopic of Jackie Kennedy, set to hit theaters December 2. Unlike typical biopics that depict a person’s life from cradle to grave, Jackie takes place in the four dramatic days that follow the assassination of her husband John F. Kennedy in 1963. The film is an intense dive into the inner most emotions of the wildly popular and iconic socialite that shows a side of the first lady the media has never seen. Offering a look at what was going on behind her pristine exterior, Natalie Portman portrays the real emotional grief that depicts the importance of how Jackie handled such tragedy in the eye of the American public.
Jacqueline Kennedy was the quintessential first lady, defining her role in the social life of America as much as in the White House. She was a great contributor to the arts and had an intense love and fascination with history and the preservation of historic architecture. While the film Jackie isn’t the complete tale of Jackie’s life, it offers a different understanding of the woman behind the icon. Her style, poise and elegance matched with her love for fashion (her pink Chanel suit and matching pillbox hat in particular) brought the American public to look to the first lady in the same admiration as the president himself. The image of Jackie in the pink ensemble is symbolic of her husband’s death and the time period of the 60’s as a whole.
The television oriented culture of the time publicized this woman and her grief. She was the first First Lady to have contact with the media that included her own press secretary. Jackie was portrayed as the ideal woman. She was attractive to the public and helped her husband gain allies for the US. She restored the White House with extreme attention to detail, and hosted a variety of social events.
After the assassination of her husband, Jackie refused to take off the blood stained clothing and wore the unlaundered iconic suit as Lyndon B Johnson was sworn into office. She’s reported as saying that she wanted to wear the suit because she wanted them to see what they had done to her husband. Jackie stepped out of the public light after her husband’s death, working to mourn and memorialize him to shield herself from the grief of devastating loss, claiming that America’s affection is what truly sustained her.
There’s no better choice to play this deeply emotional and dramatic role than Natalie Portman. Since her first role in Leon the Professional in 1994, Natalie has taken on everything from classic Star Wars to political thriller V for Vendetta, to psychological horror Black Swan. Nominated for multiple awards and winning both an Academy and Golden Globe award for her work in Black Swan, Natalie Portman is no amateur in dramatics. After just watching the trailer, it seems like a safe bet that Jackie will be the next Black Swan.