“Jackie” (Fox Searchlight)

Natalie Portman, center, stars in a scene from the movie "Jackie." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Fox)

By Catholic News Service

A mesmerizing performance by Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy, reflecting on loss while building the Camelot myth in the weeks following President John Kennedy’s (Caspar Phillipson) 1963 assassination, is mixed in with overwrought monologues and not-quite-accurate history.

Director Pablo Larrain and screenwriter Noah Oppenheim focus on how Jackie created her own legend by virtually dictating a story about her husband’s last days to Life magazine reporter Theodore H. White (Billy Crudup). They strengthen their drama with an expertly created mix of archival footage into which Portman is inserted. Catholic viewers will find Jackie’s conversations with an unnamed priest (John Hurt) — a composite of at least two real-life clergymen who are known to have counseled the first lady — of particular interest while the filmmakers’ attention to detail and willingness to show grief honestly will appeal to adults more generally.

An explicit, gory portrayal of assassination, at least one use of rough language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is R — restricted. Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian.

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