2016 #24 – Jackie (dir. Pablo Larraín)

“People like to believe in fairy tales.” – Natalie Portman as Jacqueline “Jackie” Kennedy in Jackie.

Jackie (2016)
Pablo Larraín
Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt
Written By: Noah Oppenheim
Running Time: 99 minutes (1 hour, 39 minutes)
Genre(s): Biographical, Drama, History

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – biopics are tricky.

For so many reasons too. For example, a biopic can often rest in the hands of its actor, which is why casting is very important if there is going to be someone as iconic and well-known as Jackie Kennedy being portrayed. Another example would be a biopic’s screenplay, which more often than not ends up crossing the line of being too sanitized and this can end up making a film less engrossing.

Jackie does not face these problems though as it is not the usual biopic.

Instead, Pablo Larraín completely subverts genre expectations from the non-linear screenplay to the complete, undivided attention to Natalie Portman (who I’m pretty sure is in most, if not in every scene of the film).

The film focuses on one moment in Jackie Kennedy’s life – the death of U.S. president John F. Kennedy and how she deals with it in the days leading up to his funeral. Rather than focusing on Jackie’s entire life story, Larraín creates a snapshot of one specific moment in time, allowing Jackie to become a terrifying, nightmarish portrayal of grief, death and legacy.

The screenplay, the sometimes overwhelming but always powerful score by Mica Levi and the cinematography all set the tone for the trauma that Jackie goes through. At times it feels inescapable, and that is no accident as it perfectly captures the suffocating experience she endures throughout the movie.

Natalie Portman’s performance is a bit standoffish at first due to her accent and mannerisms, but within a few minutes it becomes clear that what Portman achieves here is something really special. Jackie forces Portman to tackle a whirlwind of complex emotions and she handles it all with ease, creating a moving portrayal that is a wonder to behold. 4.5/5.

(Also, I just want to say that my Best Actress ballot below is probably going to be changing a lot as I try to rearrange names. It’s getting pretty crowded, this was a very strong year for that category!)

2016 Personal Ballot (updates are in bold)

Best Picture
The Handmaiden
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Hell or High Water

Best Director
Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Park Chan-wook – The Handmaiden
Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
David Mackenzie – Hell or High Water

Best Actor in a Leading Role
1. Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
2. Denzel Washington – Fences
3. Joel Edgerton – Loving
4. Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
5. Ryan Gosling – La La Land

Best Actress in a Leading Role
1. Natalie Portman – Jackie
2. Krisha Fairchild – Krisha
3. Sally Field – Hello, My Name Is Doris
4. Emma Stone – La La Land
5. Kim Min-hee – The Handmaiden

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1. Ashton Sanders – Moonlight
André Holland – Moonlight
Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea
5. Ben Foster – Hell or High Water

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1. Viola Davis – Fences
2. Lupita Nyong’o – Queen of Katwe
3. Janelle Monaé – Hidden Figures
4. Lucy Boynton – Sing Street
5. Naomie Harris – Moonlight

Best Original Screenplay
1. Manchester by the Sea – Kenneth Lonergan
2. Hell or High Water – Taylor Sheridan
3. Jackie – Noah Oppenheim
4. Sing Street – Simon Carmody, John Carney
5. La La Land – Damien Chazelle

Best Adapted Screenplay
1. Moonlight – Barry Jenkins, Tarell Alvin McCraney
The Handmaiden – Park Chan-wook, Chung Seo-kyung
3. Fences – August Wilson
4. Loving – Jeff Nichols
5. Krisha – Trey Edward Shults

Best Film Ensemble
1. Moonlight – Trevante Rhodes, Ashton Sanders, Alex Hibbert, André Holland, Jharrel Jerome, Janelle Monaé, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali
Hell or High Water – Jeff Bridges, Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Gil Birmingham, Marin Ireland, Katy Mixon, Dale Dickey, Kevin Rankin, Katy Mixon, Margaret Bowman
3. Fences – Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Jovan Adepo, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, Saniyya Sidney
4. Hidden Figures – Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monaé, Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Parsons, Glen Powell, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge
5. The Handmaiden – Kim Min-hee, Kim Tae-ri, Ha Jung-woo, Cho Jin-woong, Kim Hae-sook, Moon So-ri

Best Original Score
1. La La Land – Justin Hurwitz
Moonlight – Nicholas Britell
3. The Handmaiden – Cho Young-wuk
4. Jackie – Mica Levi
5. Loving – David Wingo

Best Original Song
La La Land – “Audition” by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
Sing Street – “Drive It Like You Stole It” by Gary Clark
3. La La Land – “City of Stars” by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul
4. Sing Street – “To Find You” by Gary Clark
La La Land – “Another Day of Sun” by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek, Justin Paul

Best Production Design
1. The Handmaiden – Ryu Seong-hie
2. Jackie – Véronique Melery, Jean Rabasse
3. Passengers – Guy Hendrix Dyas, Gene Serdena
4. La La Land – David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
5. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them – Stuart Craig, James Hambidge, Anna Pinnock

Best Cinematography
1. La La Land – Linus Sandgren
2. Moonlight – James Laxton
3. Jackie – Stéphane Fontaine
4. The Handmaiden – Chung Chung-hoon
5. Hell or High Water – Giles Nuttgens

Best Makeup and Hairstyling
1. Deadpool – Bill Corso
2. Suicide Squad – Alessandro Bertolazzi, Giorgio Gregorini, Christopher Nelson
3. Hacksaw Ridge – Shane Thomas, Larry Van Duynhoven
4. Sing Street – Barbara Conway, Sandra Kelly
5. The Handmaiden – Song Jong-hee

Best Costume Design
1. The Handmaiden – Jo Sang-gyeong
2. Jackie – Madeline Fontaine
3. Sing Street – Tiziana Corvisieri
4. Queen of Katwe – Mobolaji Dawodu
5. La La Land – Mary Zophres

Best Film Editing
1. Moonlight – Joi McMillon, Nat Sanders
2. La La Land – Tom Cross
3. The Handmaiden – Kim Jae-bum, Kim Sang-bum
4. Hell or High Water – Jake Roberts
5. Hacksaw Ridge – John Gilbert

Best Visual Effects
1. The Jungle Book
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
4. Hacksaw Ridge
5. Deadpool

2016 Ranked (updates are in bold)

1. Moonlight (dir. Barry Jenkins)
The Handmaiden (dir. Park Chan-wook)
La La Land (dir. Damien Chazelle)
Manchester by the Sea (dir. Kenneth Lonergan)
Hell or High Water (dir. David Mackenzie)
6. Jackie (dir. Pablo Larraín)
Sing Street (dir. John Carney)
Loving (dir. Jeff Nichols)
9. The Jungle Book (dir. Jon Favreau)
10. Fences (dir. Denzel Washington)
11. Krisha (dir. Trey Edward Shults)
12. Queen of Katwe (dir. Mira Nair)
13. Hidden Figures (dir. Theodore Melfi)
14. Deadpool (dir. Tim Miller)
15. Finding Dory (dir. Andrew Stanton)
16. Hello, My Name Is Doris (dir. Michael Showalter)
17. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (dir. David Yates)
18. Christine (dir. Antonio Campos)
19. Hacksaw Ridge (dir. Mel Gibson)
20. Captain Fantastic (dir. Matt Ross)
21. Passengers (dir. Morten Tyldum)
22. Sausage Party (dir. Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon)
23. The Girl on the Train (dir. Tate Taylor)
24. Suicide Squad (dir. David Ayer)


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