“You think the dead we loved truly ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble?”

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

In viewing Pablo Larrain’s “Jackie,” I had to run to my 20 book collection of the Kennedy years to reintroduce myself to all those people who surrounded the tragic family during their painfully brief odyssey through the sunlight and mud of Camelot. Every book, every writer, had a different view of Jackie all “knew” the “real” Jackie.

I’m reminded of a college professor who once said “Whenever someone says ‘they say …’ Find out who ‘they’ are, and what makes them think ‘they; know.”

But none of the “Jackies” in all of those books bears any resemblance to the “Jackie,” in this film. It is yet another chunk of the dark adventures of the widow Kennedy, who appears to be a much loved rag doll that survived a historic conflagration that consumed a family and a nation, and even today, is still as beloved as Johnny Gruelle’s immortal 1915 Raggedy Ann.

The film begins with a young, unnamed reporter (Billy Crudup) coming to her widow’s perch at Hyannis Port after the shooting. She answers his questions, puffing one cigarette after another, even holding them the way Bette Davis did so nonchalantly, and then in the next line says, “I don’t smoke.”

Jackie provides answers, and then edits them even before the words hit the air. “Of course you know I’ll never let you print that.”

As the interview progresses, director Larrain takes us on a journey back into the perfumed cloud of Kennedy’s Camelot, like someone flipping the pages of an illustrated tale.

They’re all here: We meet Jack Kennedy (an eerie look alike actor, Caspar Phillipson) who has few lines but gets the moves and accent right.

There is: Lyndon Johnson (John Carroll Lynch) who spends long moments exchanging dirty looks with Bobby, (Peter Sarsgaard) Beth Grant as Lady Bird Johnson, and dozens of others floating in and out, a collection, the great Truman Capote would have called, “other voices in other rooms.”

But we’re here to meet Jackie, drawn in pastel-colored chalk by Natalie Portman, an actress we’re all familiar with, one I admire, and yet I’m not sure what to do with her here.

Of course she can’t give us the Jackie whom we all became so familiar with through the White House tours and interviews in the first years of their marriage, and we will never know that Jackie, now fading into sepia toned albums, or for that matter, the players that surrounded her.

Portman trots out the whispery Boston/Newport accent that Jackie was famous for, but it only results in not being able to understand much of what she’s saying, especially when so many of the scenes are shared by two or more characters whispering to one another. The film sometimes seems to be comprised of one long chorus of whisperers, like conspirators in a Kafka tale, afraid that they will be overheard, found out, and punished for crimes they can’t remember.

In the first few moments, we see the death car tearing down the highway to Parkland Memorial Hospital, but only in the final scenes does the camera reach into the back seat and show Jackie in her famous blood soaked pink wool suit, holding Jack’s body in her lap, in terrifying detail.

All of the cast right down to the flock of dark-suited Secret Service agents do their professional best to contribute to projecting the fading image of that great American tragedy, followed by another, then another and yet another, ad infinitum. Such is the dark music of this age.

The strangest omission is Teddy, the “Lion of the Senate.” Teddy never appears, only seen as an extra in the funeral procession; Teddy who was such a big part of her life.

Larrain is an interesting director, but Oliver Stone’s cut would have been more fun.

J.P. Devine is a former stage and screen actor.