Set during her role as First Lady of the United States in the White House and the day of and those following the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy. It offers a glimpse into the lives of those left behind on the fateful day in 1963 and the impact it had on a more personal level, through the eyes of Jackie Kennedy and those around her.
As you have heard, and/or expected, Natalie Portman is sensational as Jackie Kennedy, nailing the former First Lady's mannerism, characteristics and accent to the point where you have to double-take as to whether some moments are archive footage of the real Jackie or filmed as part of Portman's performance. It's commanding, seamless and engaging at all times, translating into a moving and often harrowing performance that demonstrates the struggles of being both a mother, wife and figure of inspiration to many; essentially, she plays a lady who has, for a good part of her life, put on a performance, meaning this gives Portman an opportunity to showcase a more personal side to Jackie, including her relationships with a variety of people, be that her family, friends or government officials. It's carefully crafted and finely tuned with a strong possibility that this will go down as one of her career-defining performances, Oscar trophy or not. Surrounding supporting players, despite being incomparable to the name-above-the-title, help round the picture off with solid performances that support the emotional journey the film takes us on; Greta Gerwig is an terrific choice as Nancy Tuckerman, Social Secretary and friend to Jackie, as if Peter Sarsgaard's Robert Kennedy, including one pivotal scene in which he mediates on whether JFK's legacy will simply be that of an assassin's bullet. It's powerful that this spark of rage is really rather true, making it a rather devastating retrospective.