The First Trailer for Natalie Portman's Jewish Period Drama Is Here – Kveller
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The First Trailer for Natalie Portman’s Jewish Period Drama Is Here

The actress plays a disgruntled Jewish housewife turned journalist in the first trailer of the Apple TV+ show "Lady in the Lake."

ladyinthelake

via Apple TV+

The first trailer for “Lady in the Lake,” Natalie Portman’s 1960s period thriller directed by the award-winning Israeli filmmaker Alma Har’el, is here, and it looks stunning.

Moses Ingram’s Cleo Sherwood posthumously narrates the majority of the trailer. She addresses her words to Portman’s character, Madeline “Maddie” Schwartz, a Jewish housewife turned reporter who’s attempting to solve the mystery of Cleo’s murder, a murder which made her known only as the “lady in the lake.” Cleo also narrates the opening of the novel of the same name, written by Laura Lippman, who was inspired by the underreported 1969 deaths of an 11-year-old Jewish girl — Esther Lebowitz — and a 33-year-old Black woman — Shirley Parker — to write her evocative commentary about gender, race and ambition.

“I bet people told you you looked like Jackie Kennedy,” Cleo muses in the first chapter of “Lady in the Lake” of her first meeting of Maddie. Portman, who starred as the former first lady in “Jackie,” instantly feels like the perfect choice for this role, though perhaps more importantly, she breathes Jewish authenticity into the series. In the book, we are introduced the Maddie at the end of the High Holidays as her husband, Milton, surprises the weary homemaker with yet another dinner she has to host for an honored guest.

Portman and Ingram are both captivating in the trailer, where they echo each other in dress, mannerisms and in their dreams. We see Maddie as a housewife, her hair and makeup done up, a colorful apron covering her canary yellow outfit, holding a plate of deviled eggs. A wallpaper of a painted forest adorns her living room; she vacuums the floor with a corded vacuum. Her husband, played by Jewish actor Brett Gelman, sips a drink and watches her. “I can’t just be someone’s wife,” Maddie complains in the trailer, to which Milton responds, “You never wanted to do anything else.” But Maddie argues back, her voice angry and tearful, her body shaking with frustration and fury: “I never tried to do anything else, did you ever wonder why?”

Maddie then leaves her home with boxes, parting from her teen son, and we see her later in an apartment full of papers where she is investigating Cleo’s murder. We later see her kissing a lover, Officer Ferdie Platt, played by the dreamy Y’lan Noel, who helps her with her quest, but also warns her: “This is not your high school newspaper, Maddie. People’s lives are at stake.”

“Your writing dreams ruined your life,” Cleo says in the trailer. “Now you wanted those same dreams to rewrite it… but why did you need to drag my dead body into it?” Her voice tinged with anger, she surmises, “You wanted to tell everyone’s story but your own.”

We also see Cleo in the trailer talking about her dreams, surrounded by piles of money. “Dreams will push you down until you drown,” she says, darkly prophetic. Her husband, Slappy, comments, “My wife was a lot of things, but there’s one thing that she’s not, foolish.”

There’s not much Jewish representation in these clips, though we do see a Jewish funeral service where men with kippahs carry a plain pine box. In another scene, Portman’s character wears a wool coat with a Jewish star embroidered on it, the same patches Jews wore in the Holocaust. This trailer is generally full of dark and visually stunning intrigue, as is Har’el’s trademark, with masks, sultry club scenes, Ingram and Portman dancing in skimpy outfits, a man dressed as Santa on fire, fishbowls, ghosts and terrifying mannequins. WE see all this as the song “The Impossible Dream” from the 1965 musical “Don Quixote” plays in the background, another perfect choice for this tale — a song about chasing dreams, sung by Frank Sinatra and Luther Vandross, as well as by Aretha Franklin at the funeral of Rosa Parks.

“Lady in the Lake” premieres on Apple TV+ on July 19, and we truly can’t wait for this dense and entrancing show to be out.

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