Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mrs. Kennedy Jumped Up and Cried "Oh. No."

And the motorcade sped on.

The title of today's review is what was very publicly reported by the press when they were covering the first seconds past 1230PM Dallas time on November 22, 1963.   The fact that this much heralded statement never really made it to the movie "Jackie" should have been my first warning.

However. the very first thing that I noticed while watching Natalie Portman's portrayal of First Lady Jackie Kennedy was how much she sounded like Marilyn Monroe. Given the rumors,  I thought this to be ironic.   And it occupies my mind throughout most of the movie.   Not a good thing.

Indeed, I came home and checked You Tube for the famous White House Tour which is depicted in the movie.   Sure enough, the real Jackie did sound just like Marilyn Monroe.   And this still occupies my mind.

Okay, with my lifelong interest in the Kennedy assassination and the mournful days that followed, "Jackie" should have been a slam dunk for me.   Naturally, having read dozens of books on the subject, I went into the theater with my fact checking hat on.   With the painstaking attention to detail provided by director Pablo Larrain and writer Noah Oppenheim...two guys who weren't even born in 1963...I was shocked to see that they got it mostly correct.   Major kudos to them for seamlessly blending in news footage with recreations of the real events, even if the actual shooting was perhaps ten times more graphic than the renowned Zapruder film.

So, for that efficiency, I liked "Jackie."   Of course, there are inner conversations and things going on as we followed the new widow during that funeral weekend which no one could possibly know about.   I can't argue for or against their authenticity one way or another.   Whatever the case, they were interesting to see and hear.

So why isn't this a rave review for "Jackie?"   I don't really know.   At the end of a suitably compact 99 minutes, I stared at the screen and asked the question no movie wants to hear.

"And your point was?"

I wish I knew.   Now I think the point was to show that the sometimes robotic Jacqueline Kennedy had a lot of layers that nobody saw.  And, given a tour de force performance by Portman, we do get that.   But, at the end, I wondered to myself why this even commanded a story.  I mean, it was interesting to see.   But so are the pictures of delicious-looking food in a cookbook.  You're missing the important sensory points of taste and smell.   With "Jackie,"  I could see and hear the movie.   But I didn't really feel it.

And, if you walk away from a film with that emotion, it doesn't completely work for you.  Nothing really connected with me and, as much of an assassination history buff that I am, you would think I would be an easy target.

And that's probably no way to end a blog review about the movie "Jackie."

LEN'S RATING:   Three stars for attention to detail.  Two stars for story execution.

Dinner last night:  Had a big lunch so just a sandwich.

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