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Did Natalie Portman Capture The Real Jackie Kennedy In ‘Jackie’?

For Natalie Portman portraying Jackie Kennedy was a tremendous challenge. Mrs. Kennedy was iconic and Natalie confided to Indie Wire she knew little about the former first lady other than her always fashionable appearance before taking the role.

Jackie Kennedy, however, was far more than a fashion icon as Natalie Portman soon learned. Jacqueline was always brilliant and adventurous. Even as a child she was both intellectually gifted and full of mischief according to JFK library. Miss Platt, one of Jacqueline Lee Bouvier’s grade school teachers at Miss Chaplin’s School in New York, described Jacqueline’s precocious nature.

“[Jackie was] a darling child, the prettiest little girl, very clever, very artistic, and full of the devil.”

Did Natalie Portman capture the creative spark in Jackie Kennedy, the spark that was there even as a child and could never be put out? Ms. Portman certainly tried. Natalie put a great deal of research into her role as Jacqueline.

Natalie Portman was far too young to remember those days so she relied on Jackie Kennedy’s interviews and transcripts from the time some of which are in the video below.

The biopic film Jackie has its focus on the assassination and its aftermath. Anyone who knows the history could only imagine the horror Jacqueline endured.

Natalie Portman portrayed the courage and power of Jackie Kennedy quite well. Capturing that inner strength that brought Mrs. Kennedy through the most horrible event of her life. It was a shattering experience that the most famous first lady endured with valor.

Jackie Kennedy’s husband John F. Kennedy was shot in the head right in front of this brave first lady. Part of his skull came off and Mrs. Kennedy actually scrambled across the back of the car to retrieve it as shown in the video below. She showed tremendous courage and took no thought for her own life. She was fearless of more bullets. The first lady then maintained a very brave face throughout the ordeal of a nationally televised funeral.

Natalie Portman portrays former first lady Jackie Kennedy in the darkest moment in American history with amazing skill, under the direction of Pablo Larrain. The importance of the events portrayed cannot be underestimated.

John F. Kennedy’s death changed America forever. Nearly all who can remember JFK and Jackie Kennedy in the Whitehouse would agree. America isn’t the same country it was before, actress Ellen Burstyn told US News on the fiftieth anniversary of JFK’s assassination.

“I was in the makeup chair in Universal Studio. The country has never been the same.”

Natalie Portman in what is probably the most important role of her career portrays the woman who was tasked with saving what was left of America’s hopes and dreams.

Natalie Portman portrays Jackie Kennedy in Jackie [Image by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP Images]

John F. Kennedy represented great hope to almost all Americans. The JFK administration was widely referred to as Camelot and Jackie Kennedy was a huge part of that. John Kennedy opposed corruption, brought growth, and held to high ideals. Taylor Reveley, president of the College of William & Mary recalled to US News his disbelief that such a thing could happen in America.

“The impact on me was extraordinary – intense grief because JFK had appealed to me enormously, coupled with shock and disbelief that such a hideous thing could happen in the United States.”

Natalie Portman portrays Jackie Kennedy in a moment in history no one could or should forget. It was a moment that saw the end of a man with great promise for a bright future.

Most people alive at the time recall the moment they first learned that John F. Kennedy had been shot. It was a shock to the entire world. Parents cried and children too young to understand still recall that moment. For many, it was the first time they saw their fathers weep openly. Even Jimmy Carter said he slipped out of his office, and “went out the back to weep,” according to US News.

It was through Jackie Kennedy’s brave face, with that forced smile and determined eyes that got this country through its darkest days. The First Lady seemed to know exactly what to say and what to do, to save her husband’s legacy.

Natalie Portman displays some resemblance to Jackie Kennedy [Image by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images]

Natalie Portman told Indie Wire she admired tremendously the way Jackie Kennedy held herself together through all the horror. She pushed aside her own feelings about the tragedy and comforted a broken and grieving nation.

“[Jackie Kennedy] is such an amazing woman… Really having the understanding of history to very strongly and quickly define her husband’s legacy after the assassination. She knew that the story that we tell is the one that becomes truth.”

Natalie Portman above all seems to capture Jackie Kennedy’s courage and tremendous inner strength. At a time when the entire nation was shaken. The First Lady was solid as a rock.

Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy does not grieve openly even for the cameras when Jackie seems to be alone. First Post is critical of Natalie Portman’s portrayal calling Jackie’s consistent courage problematic.

“This is problematic because, without a general idea of the complete extent of the pain the protagonist is going through, the audience will not be able to comprehensively appreciate or empathize with the massive effort taken by her to conceal that huge pain.”

Jackie Kennedy is recorded in the video above recounting a time when she told her husband John F. Kennedy not to send her and the children away during the Cuban Missile Crisis. She said she would rather die by his side and the children too than to leave him.

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Natalie Portman portrays the same woman who, not knowing if the bullets would stop, climbed out on the back of the car on that fateful day. Of course, her loss was painful. Jackie Kennedy was just very brave.

The film Jackie, starring Natalie Portman portrays a strong female, courageous in the worst of situations. Natalie’s portrayal is what everyone familiar with Jackie Kennedy’s character would expect.

Jackie Kennedy never made any display of her grief, so how could Natalie Portman have dared presume to show Jackie that way? The First Lady never let anyone see the depths of her despair after the assassination.

Natalie Portman was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Jackie Kennedy but was unable to attend the awards ceremony due to her pregnancy. Portman’s due date is in the early spring.

Though Natalie Portman did not win the Oscar for best actress this year, nor did Jackie win for best film, the movie is none the less important. Over 50 years have passed, but it is vital that a new generation understands the historical significance of the Kennedy assassination.

Natalie Portman is keeping the memory of Jackie Kennedy and John F. Kennedy alive in this Pablo Larrain film.

[Featured Image by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP Images And National Archives/Getty Images]