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Jackie is one of the most unconventional and effective biographical films of the past decade, a far departure from the overtly familiar award season bait like Loving or Lion. The film is a towering character study of a fascinating historical figure with a brilliant performance by Natalie Portman, who completely owns the role and is worthy of next year’s Academy Awards. Pablo Larrain gives searing spectacle into loss, American royalty, and the power of leadership.

The biographical film follows Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) in the days prior and following the death of her husband, President John F. Kennedy. Additionally, the film explores Jackie’s relationship with Robert Kennedy (Peter Saarsguard), who’s brilliantly understated performance is worthy of an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress. Additional side characters, including a reporter (Billy Crudup) and a priest (John Hurt) continue the development of this nuanced lead character.

Jackie is one of the best films of the year, a film ranking alongside The Social Network and The Big Short as a creative and subversive biographical film. It’s an impactful and interesting story, the rare film that’s more fascinating than it is affecting. Grade: A