Tuesday, December 20, 2016


I went to see "Jackie" at the Tower Theater. The movie is as dark as black midnight - it's more fun to watch World Trade Center 9/11 videos - but "Jackie" comes with a superb, Oscar-worthy performance by Natalie Portman. If she doesn't get Best Actress, she'll get damned close.

I was very surprised to see Sacramento's own Greta Gerwig playing Nancy Tuckerman. I'm happy Greta's stepping away from comedic roles into something more substantial:
In Larraín’s film, style is substance. His cinematographer, Stéphane Fontaine (“Elle”), mixes handheld camera — its subjects so close to the screen that it borders on uncomfortable — with lush tracking shots, such as during the lavish funeral procession. There’s one shot in particular that’s worth the price of admission, and you’ll know it when you see it: The first lady’s somber, searching face is viewed from inside the window of an armored car, juxtaposed with the reflection of mourners on the street. “Jackie” attains a beauty that’s often close to ecstasy.

That commitment to aesthetics is a fitting tribute to a woman — perhaps more than any other person of her era — who understood the power of the image. Throughout her husband’s presidency, the first lady was derided for the money she spent renovating the White House with antiques, which were meant to serve as a tribute to previous administrations. The press, uninterested in symbolism, charged her with wasting taxpayer dollars. Jackie is so fastidious and exacting when it comes to her persona that a reenactment of the famous 1962 tour of her Pennsylvania Avenue home is played for comic value. The first lady’s contrived voice, recalling Katherine Hepburn by way of Stepford, is a testament to the veneer of perfection Jackie worked so hard to maintain.

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