Jackie (2016)

Director: Pablo Larraín
Writer: Noah Oppenheim
Cast: Natalie PortmanPeter SarsgaardGreta GerwigBilly CrudupJohn HurtRichard E. GrantCaspar PhillipsonJohn Carroll LynchBeth GrantDeborah FindlayCorey Johnson
Seen on: 31.1.2017

A year after the assassination of John F. Kennedy (Caspar Phillipson), his widow Jackie Kennedy (Natalie Portman) gives an interview to a journalist (Billy Crudup) about the difficult path she had to navigate in the time since. Weighed down by her own shock and grief, she still has to make sure she upholds the Kennedy’s reputation and her own husband’s legacy.

Despite a great cast and a great look, Jackie did not work for me. It continuously bored me and I just could not get into the story, the film or the characters.

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Neruda (2016)

Director: Pablo Larraín
Writer: Guillermo Calderón
Cast: Gael García Bernal, Luis Gnecco, Mercedes Morán, Emilio Gutiérrez Caba, Diego Muñoz, Alejandro Goic, Pablo Derqui
Part of: Viennale (this year’s surprise movie)
Seen on: 30.10.2016

Pablo Neruda (Luis Gnecco) is a wanted man. Not only for his famous poetry, but also for his politics: having become a member and high-ranking official for the recently declared illegal Communist Party in Chile, the police try to capture him. It’s Detective Peluchonneau (Gael García Bernal) who gets tasked and increasingly obsessed with capturing Neruda, even as he tries to flee the country.

I probably wouldn’t have chosen to watch Neruda, given that I’m neither very familiar with his poetry, nor with Chilean politics, but that’s the risk you take with surprise screenings. With that caveat in mind, I thought that Neruda had some interesting ideas, but it didn’t really come together for me at all.

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