World, meet Pablo Larraín. That is, if you haven’t already caught one of the six features that established the Chilean director as one of the world’s foremost film auteurs. But after landing an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film with his funny, formally daring, and politically caustic 2012 feature No, Larraín has officially made his Hollywood debut with Jackie. And it looks amazing.
Starring Natalie Portman as Jacqueline “Jackie” Bouvier – also known as Jackie Kennedy Onassis – Jackie promises to translate Larraín’s thematic fascination with the personal, political, and historical into a uniquely American context. The film dramatizes the assassination of John F. Kennedy through the eyes of the first lady, offering up an intimate portrait of a woman cast into the global spotlight, struggling to hold herself together through a moment of personal and societal trauma.
The trailer traces Jackie’s arc from the idyllic, almost dreamlike perfection of her life as first lady into the nightmare of her husband’s assassination – and it miraculously does it without falling into Hollywood’s bad habit of giving the whole movie away in two minutes. In fact, Jackie’s trailer is much more effective in portraying the feelings and sensations that make the film so much more than another historical biopic.
Each shot is framed to perfection and dense with atmosphere, whether bathed in romantic twilight or packed with dense fog; while the soundtrack slowly layers dissonant strings over Portman’s whispered inner thoughts to create an evocative sonic tapestry. Then of course, there’s Natalie Portman, whose performance seems to walk the line between a stunned stoicism and a tumultuous inner world on the verge of boiling over.
In case you missed the last six features from Larraín, this is probably one you shouldn’t miss this one. Oscar watchers, take note: there’s a new Latin American in Hollywood.