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Director: Darren Aronofsky Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer Running Time: 121 minutes

Lurching out of a screening of mother! I had the chance to ask someone what they thought to which I was informed: “Eh, I kind of hated it”. It’s as good a line as any to begin on the Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky’s divisive latest, an allegorical horror very loosely about a married couple under siege.Read more…

Director: Pablo Larraín Starring: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, John Hurt Running Time: 99 minutes

It would perhaps be a stretch to call Pablo Larraín’s Jackie a surreal film. In terms of narrative structure and subject matter, it still functions as a straight enough biopic about Jackie Kennedy. But we all know what happened to Jackie Kennedy, and what could be more surreal than having your husband, the President of the United States, have his head blown to pieces right next to you? Isn’t reaching for a piece of skull, frantically, nonsensically, the kind of gesture that might fascinate directors like David Lynch or, as is the case, Larraín? Still structurally a biopic, what makes Jackie so interesting is its effectiveness in capturing the surreal, funereal air around the aftermath of a situation that was never supposed to happen. And just as responsible for creating that feeling is Natalie Portman as Jackie, in possibly her best performance as the shellshocked out-of-nowhere widow.

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Pablo Larráin’s Jackie may be obvious Oscar-bait, but from the trailer it looks set to be stylish and genuinely compelling. The film stars Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy and focuses on the days following beloved president John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The Costume and Make-up departments have done a commendable job of turning Portman into a dead ringer for Jackie Kennedy and the actress has developed a very convincing accent for the role. Producer Darren Aronofsky and Portman have proved a winning combination before with Black Swan in 2011 for which Ms. Portman won Best Performance by a Leading Actress and Aronofsky was nominated for Best Achievement in Directing. It will be interesting to see how Jackie fares this awards season.

The trailer is held together with lines of dialogue from Mrs Kennedy’s famous interview with family-friend and journalist Theodore White. White was a respected journalist who covered the 1960 campaign, portraying candidate Kennedy favourably, which is probably why Jackie reached out to him for an exclusive interview. She told the journalist that the couple were fond of Broadway Musical Camelot and they would often listen to the title song before bed. Her husband loved the final couplet of the song “Don’t ever let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was Camelot.” Jackie encapsulated her feelings with the iconic phrase “There will be great presidents again, but there will never be another Camelot.” Jackie seems as though it will focus on this interview, hopefully the film won’t concentrate too much on the journalism side and fall into the same dull trap that befell Frost/Nixon.

Check out the trailer.