Top 10 Best Movies of 2016

9. Jackie

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Pablo Larrain’s cinema is one rooted in the knotty relationship between influential historical leaders and the people over whom they govern (or rule with an iron fist). That’s true of both his superb 2016 releases, although in the final tally, his Neruda falls just shy of the piercing majesty of Jackie, an unconventional, hauntingly lyrical snapshot of Jackie Kennedy (played by an astounding Natalie Portman) in the week immediately following the November 23, 1963 assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy.

Framed by an interview between Jackie and a reporter (Billy Crudup), Larrain’s masterful drama uses incessant close-ups to dig deeply into the conflicted interior condition of his subject, who finds herself both battling with grief and struggling to immediately lay the groundwork for her husband’s legacy. Graceful and gripping, it’s a period piece character study that cannily speaks to the way in which words—and, tellingly, also visual images—are the tools by which we shape history.

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