7:00 PM, 1st April, 2017
Jackie Kennedy is probably the most famous First Lady that the world has ever seen, and the closest that America has seen to royalty. The story of her time as First Lady tragically unfolded before the world’s eyes; and since, we have seen countless iterations of her on the screen and in literature. But I assure you, you have never seen her quite like you will see in Pablo Larraín’s Jackie.
Revolving around her life, from shortly before JFK’s assassination to the week after, Jackie is not concerned with the iconic First Lady’s role as the fashion icon or her public appearances; instead, it digs deeper to reveal the human being underneath. It puts you in the same room as her when she went home and washed her husband’s blood off her skin, and it focuses on her courage and intelligence in the face of unspeakable tragedy.
Of course, director Larraín’s head-spinning, psychological approach wouldn’t have worked if he didn’t have a believable actress in the title role. Fortunately, Natalie Portman’s under-the-skin portrayal of Jackie is not just believable; she is an absolute revelation. From nailing Jackie’s unique, breathy voice and her mannerisms to her most vulnerable moments, Portman’s performance is heartbreaking and inspiring all at once. She may already have an Oscar to her name for Black Swan, but Jackie is her best performance to date. And the movie, likewise, is a biopic unlike any other and one of the best films of the year.
8:50 PM, 1st April, 2017
Yep, we’re all different and consequently different things appeal to us in films. A good film – and this is a real good film – will find a range of attractors for each and every one of us.
In The Light Between Oceans, a damaged WWI veteran seeks solitude in a new job as the lighthouse keeper at Janus Rock, WA. On his way, and to everyone’s surprise, he finds a wife and they find blissful loving solitude together. Tragedy occurs and a bad decision is made. As in life, the consequences of the decision are huge, all-encompassing and have impacts on so many. The rest of the film tells that story, so bring your tissues.
The acting of the leads, Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander, is simply outstanding. They are very well supported by Rachel Weisz and the trio of Aussie old men: Garry McDonald, Bryan Brown and Jack Thompson. Adam Arkapow’s cinematography deserves an Oscar. Visually stunning, it’s supposed to be WA but is filmed in NZ and to a lesser extent Tassie.
On checking, the film has had both great and ordinary reviews. Personally I don’t get the melodrama bit. In my opinion Stedman’s book is flawed and I do acknowledge that something is missing: there’s a hollowness... I thought, reflecting the character of the lighthouse keeper and his wife.
Beautiful things can be sad, and sad things can be beautiful.