by Tony Medley
Runtime 99 minutes
OK for children.
Actresses who try to
sound like the people they portray make a big mistake. Even though Cate
Blanchett won an Oscar® for her portrayal of Katharine Hepburn in The
Aviator (2004), it was one of the most achingly awful performances
I’ve ever witnessed. That was, however, before I saw Meryl Streep try to
talk like Julia Childs in Julie and Julia (2009); Ugh!
So when Natalie Portman
tries to speak like Jackie spoke, she just comes across sounding like a
moron. Since the movie does not show Jackie in anything close to a
positive light, maybe this was intentional. Whatever, anyone who watches
this film and believes it, will never again view Jackie Kennedy Onassis
The movie is about
Jackie’s actions when JFK was assassinated. Most of the time she walks
around like a zombie, doing whatever people told her to do. Only later
in the film does she begin to have some thoughts of her own and to get
She’s not the only one
to be maligned, however. Just about every character in the movie comes
across poorly, none more so than Ladybird Johnson (Beth Grant). I can
only assume that in today’s day and age when makeup experts can work
wonders, when director Pablo Lorain makes Ladybird look as bad as she
looks in this movie, it was deliberate.
Peter Sarsgaard, who has
been one of my more admired actors since his appearance in Shattered
Glass (2003), plays Bobby Kennedy and gives the worst performance of
his career. At least he had the smarts to not try to ape Bobby’s accent.
Could they have gotten
anybody who looks older and more decrepit than John Hurt to play the
priest? He looked as if he had just risen from the grave for a monster
movie in order to listen to Jackie. And who wrote those lines (answer:
Noah Oppenheim, who obviously knows virtually nothing about how a
Catholic priest operates)? Yikes! Any priest who gave such grotesque
counsel would be stricken with a bolt of lightning from heaven.
Billy Crudup, who
generally gives very good performances is perfectly dreadful as the
journalist interviewing Jackie, but could Laurence Olivier have done
better with such appalling lines?
So, what’s to make of
all these fine actors giving such horrible performances? The blame must
fall on the aforementioned writer and director Lorain, who has spent his
career making films in Chile which, apparently, makes him the perfect
guy to make a film about someone considered by many to be an American