Jackie (2016) is about grief, pain, hurt and faith during hard times, serious, strong themes. Former US President John Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, in Dallas, Texas. The film focuses on the grief of Kennedy’s wife, Jackie Kennedy, who is interviewed by a journalist, to get beneath the surface of her grief. an uncomfortable interview as far as Jackie is concerned. Jackie is grieving and is jaded by much of what has been written about her already. This journalist is sensitive enough to accommodate much of Jackie’s concerns. The interview scenes, sometime after the assassination, ooze with Jackie’s grief, as well as the scenes immediately after the assassination, filmed indoors, at a replica of the White House, and some outdoors, a cemetery. The film does have the look of budget constraints unfortunately, but Natalie Portman gets under the grief of the former first lady and is so natural in conveying the mannerisms and emotional hurt that she morphs seamlessly into the role. She is ably supported by Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby Kennedy, Richard E Grant as Bill Walton, and John Hurt as the Catholic priest. Jackie confides in the priest over the untimely death. It is here that the priest encourages Jackie that God has not left her amiss, that taken in the right way, she is a symbol for the nation. Here is a glimmer of hope for a movie of some somber mood but a story of value and performances of authenticity.
One idea can produce two ideas, but they both take a different slant, that’s the difference. For example, take this premise, as comedy for a Hollywood blockbuster that would get one star from the critics, depending on how well it was done, yet with the potential to be a bomb. A man spent ten years of his life around a lot of people and got so sick of them that he decided to isolate himself from people because he enjoyed the other half of his personality better and settles down with him, but his friend tries to get him back into socializing with people and to see the good side of humanity. In the end, he comes around to see the good side. That’s a silly comedy. But I can change the ending and the whole tone of the idea to sound like an arty drama. In the end the person stays away from people for the rest of his life and there is no seeing the good side. That’s a German drama. I would write neither.
I’ve always believed, quite rightly, that the key characters of the original Star Wars trilogy were one of the films’ trump cards, as they are believable and life-like. But I’ve noticed something else about Han and Leia that is quite true, as well. They form the ‘in-crowd’ along with their buddy Luke. If one can relate to being in an in-crowd, then maybe this part of Han, Leia and Luke resonates, but I am left with a touch of hard, cold reality: they form the ‘in-crowd’ and maybe you don’t. That’s one reason why, for all its weak points, I liked The Breakfast Club (1985) better, because they weren’t the main guys and girls on campus. If you’ve never been in the in-crowd, or felt you hadn’t made it there, then you may relate to The Breakfast Club more than Star Wars’ Han, Leia and Luke, and even Yoda and Ben Kenobi for that matter.
The outsiders of Star Wars, the droid C3-PO and Lando Calrissian, and the other assortments: Lobot, the creatures at Jabba’s Palace, Jabba himself, and the curious folk at Bespin. Among others. Are more relatable for some. Personally, if I can’t relate to the in-crowd of Star Wars, I may relate to the sense of good the writers of the films have brought out in their key heroes and heroines. But I’d somehow shy away from the limelight myself, even if I was part of it or not, and prefer the comforts of identifying with the Bepsin Security Guard and Lando donning his cape. The in-crowd has its shares of responsibilities I’m not prepared to take – like flying the Falcon through an asteroid field, going to Dagobah, a swamp planet, or planning how to get around the Empire’s sinister Death Star. No, I like sitting in the security tower with nothing much else to do but observe, and hopefully I can get pizza or Subway at the local. Or hang out in the cantina with Hammerhead on the way to work.