There have been a number of portrayals of the late queen of Camelot, Jackie Kennedy. Most have offered various takes on Jackie's life while with President Kennedy, director Pablo Larraín's take focuses on the time immediately following the JFK assassination and the White House transition from the Kennedy's to the Johnson's.


It has been widely considered that Katie Holmes portrayal of Jackie Kennedy ("The Kennedy's" - 2011) was the best interpretation, however, look for Natalie Portman's name to be called several times during the awards season. She provides a deeply nuanced character that captures Jackie's shyness, strength, determination and later paranoia.

Indeed, none of the actors are going to remembered for their visual similarities to the various characters and you can lump Portman into that group. But she nails every other aspect.


Noah Oppenheim's scripts follows the stylings of the recent stage play Rose that followed the life of Rose Kennedy as told to Robert Coughlan, the ghostwriter of Rose Kennedy's 1974 memoir. This time, however, Billy Crudup portrays an unnamed journalist interviewing Jackie at her home in Hyannis Port Massachusettes following the White House transition. The story is told in flashback from Jackie's point of view.


It is during their interactions that the few humorous moments of the film occur. Jackie dictates what he may and may not use, asserting on several occasions "Of course, I did not say that".

She explains to the JOurnalist how, immediately after the shooting, she tried desperately to put JFK's brains back into his head, a task well noted by the news after the assassination. She finally concedes that she knew he was dead. But what we also get is Jackie assertion of all the egos involved - including her own - following the incident. Much like in Rose, there is a bashing of the Kennedy boy's ego as she locked horns with Bobby Kennedy (played by Peter Sarsgaard) with who she was close.


While certain truths are revealed about the self serving dysfunction of the Kennedy Clan, it is also interesting that Jackie's own agenda during the funeral procession served her own ego as to to how the world would view her, though she needlessly put her children on display for the world to see.


Interspersed with the drama is the Jackie Kennedy's famous tour of the White House that televised her personal project of restoring the White House to a home that befit a head-of-state. That was a considerable inclusion to the story as that documentary was groundbreaking as it reach a never before tapped female television audience nearing 50-million viewers.


That detail and the references to JFK's well known love for the the musical Camelot add poignancy to what could have been merely a dramatic recollection of the assassination. Yet, even while Portman's portrayal and well conceived story draw you hopelessly in to the drama, you will note several set problems including the use of modern prescription and the brief inclusion of a cell phone left on a table. A film of this caliber must be nearly flawless.


Of note is the subtle performance by Greta Gerwig as White House Social Secretary and confidante Nancy Tuckerman. But make no mistake, this is Portman's movie and she owns every scene.


"Jackie" is a well created, well acted portrayal of one of the most popular, yet most enigmatic First Ladies at her most trying time. It is a rock solid performance by Natalie Portman that may bring her due consideration during the awards season.   -- GEOFF BURTON