Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The film Jackie got me in my gut.

I was too young in 1963 to fully understand or appreciate the events surrounding the Kennedy assassination. When Oswald was shot by Ruby on national television, I knew I wasn't watching a TV drama but it didn't affect me the way it did the adults in my family. When the funeral was televised, I dutifully watched every minute because my parents did and families did things together.  

These memories always come to mind every year on November 23 when we are reminded that a president was assassinated. What doesn't surface very often is the fact that this killing happened to a family; real people lost a husband, father, son, brother.

Most people assume that Jackie grieved. Of course she did. But we had no way of knowing how the shooting affected her because we only saw the public face she stoically wore. Thanks to Noah Oppenheim's script, we get a glimpse of those tortuous four days and I was forced to think about Jackie as a real person. My breath caught in my throat when I thought about how it would feel to have your husband's blood spatter your face and his mangled head lay in your lap. That stained pink suit took on new meaning. Jackie suffered from an unbelievably traumatic event long before any of us had heard of PTSD. 

The movie addresses but doesn't dwell on the politics that surrounded her. It looks at but doesn't focus on the relationship between Jack and Jackie. Instead, it follows her, an individual and separate from her husband. With her, we walk through the dark days after the shooting and begin to see a reason person who laughed, cried, and got seriously angry.  

Granted this is fiction but it is fiction based on fact. Oppenheim did extensive research and used letters Jackie wrote in the year following the assassination as a basis for the story. This is a must-see movie because it provides us with a view of history from a different angle and that is always a good thing. We must never assume we know all there is to know about any watching Jackie proved.