The most striking thing about Pablo Larrain’s new take on Mrs. JFK in the aftermath of that infamous assassination is how everything is heightened to a disorientating and almost unbearable level. The music is haunting and foreboding while the visuals are poised and beautifully composed, often with claustrophobic close-ups that seem so intimate it borders on being intrusive. Most impressive is the choice to eschew a more linear narrative structure for an unconventionally fragmented one that also surreptitiously incorporates real footage with re-enacted ones that further blurs the line between perception/fiction and reality. The film becomes a character study of a recently widowed woman, devastated, shocked, lost and scared, who just happens to be the First Lady of the United States. While struggling to keep it altogether, she is also intelligent and savvy enough to think about the future: both for herself, her family and her deceased husband’s legacy. While the pundits have lauded and praised Natalie Portman’s amazing performance which has rightfully earned her an Oscar nomination already, I would instead highlight the immensely difficult and creative work behind the screen, not only in Noah Oppenheim’s writing and Larrain’s directing but also Sebastian Sepulveda’s editing, to assemble and compose this cinematic portrait in such a coherent and effective fashion. This is a film I admire a great deal, rather than love, because of all the proficient and artistic talents involved that made it possible but I must confess the film leaves me feeling a little cold and distant in the end.