Jackie without Jack

Amateurish ‘documentary’ by seemingly jilted French man. 35+%


I got sucked into watching this ‘documentary’ by the promotions on SBS TV here in Australia which implied, I think, that we would hear former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy discuss her experiences after the assassination of her husband, President Kennedy. The promotion mentioned a series of interviews Jackie conducted following that assassination. For those people who are seeking such source material, you will be sorely disappointed. With the aid of having the captions turned on, I saw pretty much only three sentences spoken by Jackie and these were quickly faded out and recycled throughout the ‘documentary’. Actually, I’m not even sure if it was Jackie speaking! Maybe it was an actress? Instead of Jackie in her own words, we get the measured, avuncular tones of the male narrator, who sounds perfectly reasonable but by the end you realise he has just been conducting a character assassination of the former First Lady for the previous 60 minutes.

Now, all this may be well and good (and true)…it’s just that I don’t know if it is! The most scandalous part of this ‘documentary’ is how often you are unsure if what the spiteful narrator is saying is a paraphrase of what Jackie said, or providing the documentary’s own interpretation. For all I know the ‘documentary’ makers could not get their hands on the source material so just conjectured what was in it and put their own nasty spinĀ for their interpretation of it. The entry in The Age’s “Green guide” (a tv lift-out, 07/11/2013) says “acclaimed director Patrick Jeudy” is responsible for the documentary. He seems so ‘acclaimed’ that Wikipedia doesn’t even have an entry for him! IMDB does have a listing for him but I can’t see a listing for a documentary with this title…it sounds similar to the 2003 listing “Jackie Kennedy: What Jackie knew”.

If this ‘documentary’ has one ‘redeeming’ feature, it’s the archival footage of the subjects together. Even though I can’t say how ‘new’ those shots are or whatever, it did provide some interest value. At the risk of perhaps regurgitating unsubstantiated nonsense in this documentary, I’ll just go over some of the claims made as well as my interpretation of them:

01) Jackie’s series of interviews after the assassination was about creating a myth about the president and herself…her account makes her out to be more important in world affairs and her husband’s thinking than was actually the case.

02) It’s asserted that Jackie made a weird comment about finding her husband’s skull fragment at the time of the assassination aesthetically pleasing…’flesh coloured, not bone’ or something of the sort. From my point of view she just isn’t cut any slack here. If she actually said that, then obviously she is transgressing some sort of taboo…in other words, perhaps someone in this situation might actually think that…but you just wouldn’t say it. I can’t imagine being in this situation, but if you loved the person you just saw killed in that way, perhaps an odd thought like that would pop into your head. Who are we to judge?

03) In another nasty attack on her character, the narrator presents Jackie as being selfish and only thinking of herself after her husband is killed…she apparently wonders where she will live. Gosh…her husband has been murdered and she can no longer stay in the White House…yuh…who in their right mind would be thinking “What’s to become of me? Where will I live?”. It just makes you think what arseholes the people behind the documentary are.

04) The narrator uses the adjective “lying” of Jackie insofar as she is alleged to have claimed that she was kicked out of the White House after her husband’s assassination.

05) JFK is asserted to have slept with prostitutes and offered drugs to at least one woman. That woman was called “Mimi”, I think, who was 19 years old at the time. JFK gave her as a ‘gift’, apparently, to one of his supporters or collaborators.

06) It’s suggested that JFK’s brother, Bobby, may have been having an affair with Jackie whilst John was alive…I’m going on memory here, perhaps it was after the assassination…unsure now.

07) It’s suggested that Bobby was okay with the ‘bungled’ autopsy on his brother due to concerns that it would be discovered that John was taking illegal drugs for his physical ailments.

08) The narrator uses the phrase “poor Madame de Gaulle”…since my memory isn’t the best after the gap between seeing the ‘documentary’ and posting my notes into this review, I think this may refer to some alleged unbecoming comments made by Jackie about her, whilst John was still alive. That may be fair enough. I just don’t know. It might depend on whether Jackie said the alleged comments in private or public. If she said it in private, then give the woman a break!

09) Perhaps all this nastiness towards Jackie stems from her allegedly making unkind comments about France or the French after her successful trip there with her husband, a trip where her husband was referred to by some as “Mr. Jackie Kennedy” (or some such!).

From my point of view this ‘documentary’ comes across as an attempt to burn every bridge between Jackie and anyone else she may have been close to or any natural sympathisers. The worst thing about it is that its opinions are pre-digested for you and regurgitated for you to swallow…like sheep…sorry if my metaphors are getting mixed here! Hard to tell whether this ‘documentary’ is a troll, sour grapes or whatever. One to avoid. Or at least wait until a documentary comes out which actually features the subject doing what she is purported to be doing in this ‘documentary’…talking.

No doubt this ‘documentary’ says more about the makers than it does about Jackie.

P.S. I made a note of “Bobo the lobo”…I’m not exactly sure what that was in reference to…maybe it was unrelated to this ‘documentary’?



4 responses to “Jackie without Jack

  1. JEUDY January 11, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    I am not sure that you understood everything in this film… Easy for you to make such a critic as no one will be able to answer you… Now just joke about my poor english if you feel like, sir… by the way who are you ?

    I am the “acclaimed” director…

  2. dfle3 January 14, 2014 at 3:17 am

    I have no idea if you are who you are claiming to be (for instance, on Twitter the accounts of famous people which have been verified have a blue tick, signalling this fact…that it’s not a fake account by someone pretending to be famous).

    In any case, I’ll take you at your word. Who I am? Just a random blogger. In other words, I’m not a professional reviewer. Would the real director of “Jackie without Jack” message the tv reviewer for Time, say? Or The New York Times?

    If it’s any consolation, the documentary did ‘inspire’ me to review it. The last time I checked the webpage for this documentary by the Australian network which broadcast this there was about 6 negative comments. All negative. One of those comments was mine too.

    The advertising on the network (SBS TV) for the documentary promised ‘Jackie in her own words’. I have no idea if the words were Jackie’s or at what moments the words stopped being hers. That’s a cardinal sin in a documentary, I think. Anyway, just consider me as being extremely disappointed that the documentary was about 60 minutes of some man with a French accent speaking. If that was their attempt at impersonating Jackie, it was pretty bad.

    Lastly, the documentary was an undisguised (for the most part) hatchet job on Jackie. That wasn’t clear in the advertising material for the documentary either.

    Basically, the documentary was promoted for things that it wasn’t.

    No jokes about your ‘poor’ English. I did include one joke about a poor Jackie Kennedy impression though.

  3. George Thornburg March 22, 2014 at 6:11 am

    Talk about making a hateful documentary. What was the whole idea behind this movie. To make a phenomenal president and his wife look bad? What’s the point? You are suppose to present facts, then let the viewer decide. What you should do next is make a movie that makes W. look good. Haha. Suck start your rifle, Sir.

  4. dfle3 March 25, 2014 at 4:16 am

    I’m not particularly active on this site and was only aware today of a pending comment awaiting my approval. I allowed it. Didn’t see a way of editing out the final sentence of that, so I just allowed it…if it was worse I probably would have had second thoughts about allowing it.

    Anyway, I allowed that comment on the grounds that I’m not Robinson Crusoe in my negative reaction to the documentary. And if the maker of the documentary did in fact post a comment on my thread, then that’s surprising…surely there are professional reviewers who were negative about the work? Why not write to them instead of a random like me?

    My criticism of the documentary isn’t so much to do with its bias…more to do with how the content of the documentary was misrepresented to me by the network screening it in Australia…SBS TV.

    That said, I have to say that as a documentary, it’s as bad as “Rajneesh: spiritual terrorist”, which screened on the BBC equivalent in Australia, ABC TV. If that documentary was indeed made in in-house, then that has to be one of the most WTF? documentaries ever made. Just going on its title, I was expecting a scathing critique of the Orange People spiritual cult. Instead of that it was an extended puff piece.

    Both of these documentaries made me feel cheated.

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