I finally had the opportunity to see Jackie and thought I’d quickly weigh in with some thoughts.
I’m not a big fan of biopics in general but was optimistic after hearing that Jackie would be taking an unconventional approach. The film definitely does that, with a structure that hops forward and back along the film’s timeline.
Personally, there were few instances where this approach elevated the material for me. The ending moments, cutting to different scenes while building on an emotional state, are sublime but I mainly found the experience to be quite passive. I never really felt the stakes of what Jackie wanted to achieve.
The scenes on their own are usually impeccable. The craft is on display in spades – whether it’s the art direction, framing, or musical composition. But while the scenes impressed me, the individual moments never amounted to a completely satisfying whole. That’s not to say the film is bad, far from it. I thought it was good, just a big step or two back from my pack of favourite Natalie films.
The performance on the other hand, for that I can happily get in line. Any doubts I had about the performance not being able to match up to the buzz were swept away in the opening moments as Natalie opens a door. The weight of feeling in her eyes in that moment almost knocked me out.
Natalie evokes a range of emotions in the film and, for me at least, they felt beautifully authentic. This is despite the fact that the role required a certain level of mimicry. Jackie is at its best when the camera is on Natalie, her features providing an emotional depth that the rest of the film can only occasionally match.