Director: Pablo Larraín.
Starring: Natalie Portman, Billy Crudup, Peter Sarsgaard, John Hurt, Greta Gerwig. USA/Chile/France 2016. 100 mins.
Blessed with stunning reviews from the 2016 Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, Jackie is an intimate and quietly harrowing study of the week following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, as seen through the eyes of his widow.
Natalie Portman delivers a performance of poise and power as Jacqueline Kennedy, fighting to hold onto her dignity amid the horror of losing her husband and the subsequent turmoil at the White House. Seamlessly making his English-language debut, director Larraín (No) burrows deep into Jackie’s psyche, showing a woman teetering on the brink. The supporting cast is highly impressive, including Peter Sarsgaard as Bobby Kennedy, Greta Gerwig as loyal aide Nancy Tuckerman, and John Hurt as the priest in whom Jackie confides. But this is Portman’s film, and might deservedly win her a second Best Actress Oscar after Black Swan.
Director: Mick Jackson.
Starring: Timothy Spall, Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Alex Jennings. UK/USA 2016. 110 mins.
In her 1993 book Denying The Holocaust,, American academic Deborah Lipstadt dubbed British historian David Irving “one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial”. Irving was well known for his outspoken pronouncements, which included declaring that there had never been gas chambers at Auschwitz. Lipstadt was stunned, then, when he sued her for libel, obliging her under English law to prove in court that the Holocaust really happened. The ins and outs of this landmark battle are the subject of Denial, a captivating drama scripted by David Hare, with Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt and Timothy Spall as Irving. With its rich characters, topical theme and powerhouse performances, it is one of the winter’s most compelling titles, and a strong award season contender.