"Jackie", "The Eagle Huntress", "The Edge of Seventeen", Aisholpan, Hailee Steinfeld, Kazahk, Mongolia, Natalie Portman, Otto Bell, Simon Niblett, Woody Harrelson
Of these three films we have seen over the last couple of weeks, two we highly recommend. One is in the theaters now, and the other will be released Dec. 2.
Jackie ***** – (Ellen *****)
If you were alive and aware of the political scene when the Kennedys were in the White House, don’t miss this film. And if your knowledge of them, especially First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, came after the assassination of JFK, I suspect you will also find the film intriguing.
Just as Stephen Spielberg took a brief period in the life of Lincoln to give us a portrait of a man who was President, Chilean Director Pablo Larrain takes a ten day period to portray the most admired First Lady of the 20th century. The story takes place around JFK’s assassination and is interlaced with reported footage from the era.
No matter how much you may know or think you know about Jacqueline Kennedy, you will gain insights into her world as it comes crashing down. The film tells the story of how she deals with the grief of her husband’s unexpected death, of how she works to enhance his legacy, and, most fascinating of all, it explores in detail her often conflicting thoughts and feelings about her husband, his presidency, and her role as First Lady.
Natalie Portman’s portrayal of Jackie is captivating. While neither she nor the other actors may closely physically resemble the characters they are representing, Portman’s performance is hypnotizing. She is on the screen virtually every moment of the film, and you feel almost as if you are inside her head the entire time. This is an award winning performance.
Jackie is scheduled for limited release on Dec. 2, but I’m sure that will be followed by wide availability. Put it on your ‘to see’ list.
The Eagle Huntress ***** – (Ellen *****)
This documentary is worth seeing for the cinematography alone. It is filmed in the Altai Mountains of Western Mongolia, and Simon Niblett’s photography is simply spectacular.
But the film is also enchanting for the true story that it tells. Aisholpan is a 13 year old girl who wants to follow in her Kazahk family’s tradition of becoming an eagle hunter. With the strong support of her father, who believes a girl can do anything a boy can, he helps her capture, train, and hunt with an eagle of her own.
The Eagle Huntress is an unusual film that successfully captures a way of life that is unfamiliar to most of us. You will not only be entertained by the story, but you will also learn about traditional Mongolian culture, landscape, and customs.
This film is currently in the theaters, tho I suspect it might not stay around too long. See it while you can.
The Edge of Seventeen *** 1/2 – (Ellen ***)
While this coming of age movie has received quite favorable reviews from both critics and audiences, I can’t say I found much new or compelling.
It’s the story of a high school junior, Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld), who is kind of awkward, especially in relationship to her star older brother Darien. Things get difficult for Nadine when her best, and only, friend starts to date her brother. It’s a classic — and good — coming of age story with some contemporary twists, but it didn’t break new ground.
Woodey Harrelson is delightful in his role as Nadine’s main adult confidant and safety valve.
The Edge of Seventeen is in the theaters now.
** ** ** ** ** ** **
If you missed my Fall Movie Reviews, a post about 15 films we’ve seen since summer, most at the Philadelphia Film Festival, check out those mini-reviews. Many of them are now out in the theaters or will be soon.