Fox Searchlight Nabs Jackie at TIFF, Portman’s Performance Drawing Raves

The reviews for director Pablo Larraín's Jackie coming out of the Toronto Film Festival have been stellar. Natalie Portman's performance as Jackie Kennedy in the days after her husband’s assassination has been called "riveting" by Vanity Fair, and the film itself as something unique, strange and soulful. "Larraín’s film, shot in spare 16-mm, is looping and dizzy, sad and intimate," VF's Richard Lawson writes. "Noah Oppenheim’s script, mulling faith and fame and the death of an American fantasy, has a lamenting poetry to it." Meanwhile, The Hollywood Reporter's Oscar prognosticator Scott Feinberg writes that Portman's likely to be a Best Actress nominee. "As if this year's best actress Oscar race wasn't already impressive enough, along comes Natalie Portman's jaw-dropping portrayal of Jacqueline Kennedy in Pablo Larrain's Jackie, which is as good as any female performance this year."

So it's not terribly surprising that in an otherwise subdued market this year at Toronto, Fox Searchlight has acquired the U.S. rights to the film, and will be releasing it on the plum Oscar-hopeful date of December 9. 

“Pablo Larraín’s Jackie is a daring, one-of-a-kind cinematic portrayal of a beloved icon," Searchlight presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley told THR. "Led by an indelible performance from Natalie Portman and supported by a richly talented ensemble of actors and artists, the film is one we are thrilled to bring to audiences later this year."

When you think about an actress taking on Jackie Kennedy, you are compelled to think about that indelible accent. Lawson says Portman manages to evoke the essence of Jackie without trying to mimic her. "Portman doesn’t do an exact imitation of Jackie’s birdy, breathy affectations, her curling downspeak at the end of sentences. But she does something that’s smartly evocative of it, while also delivering a compellingly modulated performance beyond all the mechanics of voice and bearing. In Larraín’s watchful aesthetic, Portman’s intensity works rather perfectly—together they create something transfixing, a film that washes over you as it loops and lingers."

We know where we'll be on December 9.

Featured image: Natalie Portman in Jackie. Courtesy TIFF.



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