Despite the fact that Jackie Kennedy Onassis might be the closest America has had to anything like a queen, the trailer for Jackie is a reminder that her life was far from a fairytale.
The trailer opens with a montage of Natalie Portman portraying Kennedy Onassis during her the days of her two-year span as the first lady, set to the tune of the title track from the musical “Camelot.” Soon, things turn dark.
“People like to believe in fairytales,” says Portman as Kennedy Onassis in voice-over as servicemen fold an American flag over her husband’s coffin. “Don’t let it be forgot that for one brief, shiny moment there was a Camelot.”
The film has already screened at film festivals in both Venice and Toronto, and reviewers have described Chilean director Pablo Larrain’s first English-language film is not a celebration of Kennedy Onassis as an American icon, but rather a study of the widow of the victim of one of the most sensational assassinations of all time.
In other words, it’s not a film that features Onassis as that chic lady who wore that darling little pill box hat, but rather one that shows her as a woman who once had to wash her husband’s blood off her body in the shower.
It’s no wonder that Natalie Portman is getting serious Oscar buzz for her portrayal. Not only does the part require her to pull off an approximation of a well-known figure, it requires her to take that characterization through love, fame, loss, sorrow and the difficult business of how to carry on, all while being the most public of figures. Early reviews have already called the performance “astonishing” and “meticulously shaded work.”
Portman is expected to have stiff competition in the Best Actress race (including from Emma Stone and Amy Adams), but such a meaty take on an American icon is something Oscar voters particularly love.
It would be Portman’s second Oscar after previously winning for Black Swan. She would also be the first time an actress has ever won an Oscar for playing a first lady.