Archetypes: Film: Review: ‘Jackie’ (2016)

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Fox Searchlight

You need a kickass, steely preservationist to ensure that an exceptional life becomes a memory that feeds future generations. And in Jackie, that force-of-nature caretaker is Jacqueline Kennedy who, after her husband’s assassination, impressionistically exudes intentions – elegantly, sullenly, arrogantly – to ensure Jack’s being remembered.

Directed by Chilean filmmaker Pablo Larrain, and written by Noah Oppenheim, the movie is Lunar-lit. Everything that Jackie (Natalie Portman) cares about during this gut-wrenching period in time – her late husband John’s memory, history, the past and children – is the domain of the archetypal Moon.

And like the Moon – a mistress of change in her waxing and waning –  the real-life widow is herself a revolving door of Moon-ruled emotions: heartbreak, non-negotiable demands and wine- and pill-fueled semi-stupors.

Throughout, the film demonstrates Jackie’s obsession with permanence, a state in constant conflict with lunar activity. Early on, she says, “Objects and artifacts last longer than people” and “For tradition, you need time.”

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Fox Searchlight

She doesn’t hesitate to put her faith in the seeming immortality of furniture, clothing and material goods to help make the White House a memorable entity. At one point, as though to bid a personal farewell to the presidential home, she wears a series of evening gowns, as she walks from room to room. And, as funeral plans proceed, Jackie focuses on how the pageant itself might best generate what could become meaningful memories for attendees lining the streets.

With her focus on the “other,” it’s no surprise that Jackie’s attempts at self-care are unsuccessful. To a priest, who’s just advised her to take comfort in memories, she says she can’t because the good ones are mixed up with the not so good. Turns out Camelot, a collective beacon of legacy, is also starkly personal.

Archetype: Memory. Remembrance. History. The Past. Caretaker. Preservationist. Widow.

Astrology Archetype: ☽ (Moon)

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