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Film / Jackie

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"I want them to see what they have done to Jack."
"I never wanted fame. I just became a Kennedy."
Jackie Kennedy

Jackie is a 2016 film directed by Pablo Larraín and produced by Darren Aronofsky, starring Natalie Portman as Jacqueline Kennedy coping with the aftermath of her husband John F. Kennedy's assassination. The film also features Peter Sarsgaard, Billy Crudup, Greta Gerwig, and John Hurt in his last film performance.

Jackie includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Anachronic Order: The film hops around between several timelines: the events directly following Kennedy's murder, a tour of the White House a few years earlier, an interview with a reporter about a week later, and a conversation with a priest some time after that.
  • Blood-Spattered Innocents: As in real life, Jackie gets covered with her husband's blood when he's shot. She wipes the blood off her face immediately, but keeps the same clothes on all day as a statement.
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  • Boom, Headshot!: One of the most famous Real Life examples is reproduced in graphic detail, as we see it from Jackie's very close proximity. She and the reporter even Lampshade it early on.
  • Cigarette of Anxiety: Jackie smokes several. She also drinks vodka and takes barbiturates — in a particularly grim scene, lots of them, while she puts on different outfits and listens to a sprightly tune from Camelot.
  • Death Seeker: Jackie admits to her priest that she's been wanting to die ever since her husband's death, and that her decision to walk openly in the funeral cortege was motivated partly by the hope that someone would shoot her too.
  • The Determinator: Jackie, concerning the funeral, Jack's burial place, and the way she wants her husband to be remembered. Her situation could be considered Break the Cutie (because she was young and shy, she was called "poor kid" by some Secret Service guys and other officials) but she's closer to an Iron Woobie.
    Ladybird Johnson. Can I send somebody to help you change? Before we land. All those cameras. People will be watching.
    Jackie. There were Wanted posters everywhere. For Jack. With Jack's face on them. Let them see what they've done.
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  • Due to the Dead: Much of the film covers the planning for J.F.K.'s funeral. Jackie wants to imitate Abraham Lincoln's lengthy procession as closely as possible, though this creates some security concerns.
  • Framing Device: An interview with a reporter in Hyannis Port functions as this, repeatedly flashing back to scenes as they discuss them. However, the conversation with the priest, which starts about halfway through the film, turns out to have occurred later.
  • Heroic BSoD: An excellent depiction of the real First Lady's one of these.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: There's a very tender scene between Jackie and White House social secretary Nancy Tuckerman. In Real Life, Nancy and Jackie had been school friends since they were little girls. Nancy did stay with Jackie and was her personal secretary for the rest of Jackie's life.
  • In Mysterious Ways: Discussed. Jackie tells the priest that "God is cruel" because he let her husband be slaughtered in front of her not long after she lost two of her babies. The priest tells her that God may be working through her in ways she doesn't yet understand.
  • Mononymous Biopic Title: Jackie, of course.
  • No Name Given: Although the reporter is clearly meant to be Theodore H. White, who interviewed Jackie for Life magazine shortly after the assassination, he's only credited as "The Journalist."
  • Plot-Triggering Death: John Kennedy's murder happens at the very start of the film, and almost everything else that happens is the fallout.
  • Posthumous Character: John Kennedy, who's almost The Ghost — he only appears briefly in a few flashbacks.
  • Precision F-Strike: Very, very softly spoken by Bobby, as Johnson's aide Jack Valenti voices safety concern about Johnson having to walk in the funeral procession:
    Valenti. I just can't have my President walking.
    Bobby Kennedy. Your President?
    Valenti. My President.
    Bobby Kennedy. Well, regardless of what happens, my brother's going to be carried in a box.
    Valenti. And I am sorry, sir.
    Bobby Kennedy. [considers for a moment, then:] Fuck off.
  • Shower of Angst: An especially painful example, as it shows Jackie weeping while the water washes off her husband's blood.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask: While she's not actually the sovereign, there's a similar dynamic at work. Jackie is very conscious of her family's image, and is constantly aware that she's putting on a show even as she's working through her grief.


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