Life for Jackie Kennedy was never the same after President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. This film takes a look at the First Lady from that horrific day forward.
There’s something unique about bio-pics in cinema. The fact that the story being told is real adds more intrigue and suspense to the experience. These events happened to actual people, and continues to affect the world for ages. The mystery behind President Kennedy’s assassination is still fraught with conspiracy theories and loose ends. The truth may never be revealed. While many generations will continue to unravel the events that took place that day in Dallas, TX, most won’t take the time to consider those who were directly affected by the horrific scene. Jackie Kennedy was sitting directly next to JFK and has first-hand memories of the experience. It’s practically impossible to understand what she went through, and how she managed to keep her head held high during this dark era in American history.
The Kennedy’s were always in the spotlight with their above average looks, young age, and stellar demeanor. They were the rockstars of politics, and brought a great deal of charisma where ever they went. John F. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States and the youngest to become elected into office. He was also the youngest to die in office. JFK wanted to revive the historic roots of America, and establish true equality among all US citizens. He strived to push American industry to be the best. He’s also responsible for getting the United States involved with space travel. His speech about going to the Moon is one of the most iconic to date. While he accomplished many of the goals he set out to, his lovely wife Jacqueline stood by his side. She was just as impressionable, and steered much of the American fashions in those days. All the ladies wanted to look like her. The dresses she wore became high-fashion, and store-front mannequins were created in her image. This was quite flattering, but came with a consequence. Jackie was seen as the President’s arm-candy. She was the ideal trophy wife, and believed to be a bit flighty. Nevertheless, she was very devoted to her husband and their two beautiful children.
In this film, viewer’s get a chance to see what life was like during her time in the White House. We also learn about her first-hand experience on that dreadful day in Dallas, and how she handled the situation with poise and grace soon after. This is a rare glimpse into the life of one of America’s greatest icons. It also shows how quickly life can change in an instant. The exchange of power was incredibly swift, mind-numbing, and completely surreal for all involved. Viewers can once again grieve alongside the First Lady in, Jackie.
Enough about that…let’s take a look at what’s included with this release!
The menu consists of several looping clips from the film. The menu options are listed along the bottom, and include: Play, Set Up, Search and Extras. The ‘Set Up’ option allows viewers to choose the audio and subtitle tracks for the film. The Audio tracks include: English 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Descriptive Audio, and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. The Subtitles are available in English, Spanish and French. The ‘Search’ option lets viewers choose a particular scene or Bookmark they made. Scenes are displayed one at a time, and include a snapshot.
Now let’s check out the bonus features included with this release!
– From Jackie to Camelot (22:25 HD): This is a controversial film about a dark time in American history. The assassination of a well-liked President was horrifying, and this film provides an insight of what it was like for First Lady Jackie Kennedy. She endured a lot during that time, and did her best to hold her head high. This bonus feature takes a look at what went into making this great film, and how important it was to hire the right people. Having a non-American Director was key to provide a fresh look and depiction of the Kennedy family. Steven Spielberg really wanted to do this film, and even he didn’t get it! This is a story about love, family, motherhood, and raw emotion. It’s a rare glimpse of what life was like for Jackie at that time. Chilean Director Pablo Larraín said he would only make this movie if Natalie Portman was involved. This was non-negotiable. I’d agree she’s the best actress for a role like this. Pablo also felt the tour of the White House had to be exactly like the real one broadcasted many decades ago. They mixed in the real footage with the modern tour, and it’s practically impossible to tell the difference. It was remarkable. If you enjoyed the film you have to watch this feature. It’ll make viewers appreciate it more.
– Gallery (2:40 HD): This feature consists of several high-res stills from the film. The framing and colors are brilliant.
– Theatrical Trailer (1:48 HD): This trailer provides a brief glimpse of what viewers can expect from the film.
– Sneak Peek: This feature includes all of the trailers seen at the beginning of the disc.
Now let’s take a look at the technical side of this Blu-ray.
The 1080p HD image comes with an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, so there are two skinny black bars along the left and right sides of your HDTV. This is an unusual aspect ratio, but once the movie starts rolling, viewers will quickly forget they are there. The film was captured on 16mm film, so there’s plenty of natural grain to behold. The aged look doesn’t take away from the story, but rather adds to the visual experience. This is a tale from many decades ago, and the original ‘real’ footage looked even more primitive. What was genius though, is how they incorporated some of the classic footage into the modern-day footage. One of the best examples is during the White House tour with Jackie. I mentioned this in the ‘Extras,’ but the entire tour was re-created for the film. It included the same halls, decorations, camera angles, expressions and more. Duplicating the old footage allowed the editor to splice in some of the actual tour footage. Some of the wide-shots of Jackie were really her. While watching the film I barely caught onto this, and I guarantee most viewers won’t even notice. It’s that well done. This stylistic choice was a gutsy move that seriously paid off. Bravo!
Despite having a very classic look and an intense amount of grain; the color palette in this film appears incredibly vibrant. Jackie’s red dress, and especially her bright pink one, looked brilliant in HD. The close-up scene when she’s crying as she washes the blood off her face is very detailed as well. It seems no matter how hard she tries to wipe the blood away, it only smears across her face. We also see her continue to wear the hot pink dress that’s covered with blood as the new President is sworn in. This wasn’t an oversight by the Director either. The real Jackie Kennedy wore that blood-stained outfit all the way back to Washington DC. I applaud the Director for maintaining this little-known fact.
The 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio track does a spectacular job pulling the viewer into the film. The dread and emotional anguish is not only seen, but heard/felt as well in this transfer. The musical score is quite different than one would expect, but I thought it was fantastic! It simply made every scene that much more emotional. This can be a difficult film to watch as the visuals and soundtrack portray a graphic insight into the assassination of President Kennedy, as well as, the events that unfolded after. The various sound effects used also contributed to the story as it unfolded on screen. It’s a great sounding transfer.
Overall, Jackie is a very well-done film. My first viewing left me with some pause about what I had just witnessed. As mentioned above, it can be a difficult journey to experience. There’s a lot of sadness and heartbreak to be seen/felt in this film. The thing is, this is the truth. It’s the raw perspective of the First Lady who watched her husband and President of the United States get assassinated in public. It’s a horrific tale, and Jackie was right in the middle as it all happened. Worse yet, she was in the spotlight from that moment forward, and would forever be overshadowed by that dreadful day. Some viewers may feel she went a little overboard with the funeral procession, but try and understand the weight on her shoulders. She wanted the world to see what had been done to President Kennedy. And the whole world did.
If you are into bio-pics with stellar actors and incredibly intimate story with graphic detail, don’t hesitate to pick this one up. It’s a visual masterpiece that depicts one of the worst atrocities ever committed on American soil. Check it out on Blu-ray today!