The Kennedys

User Score
6.8

Generally favorable reviews- based on 17 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 17
  2. Negative: 2 out of 17

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User Reviews

  1. Jun 13, 2012
    5
    An extremely well acted mini-series from the whole cast, and technically brilliant. Yet, the whole thing isn't anything we haven't seen before about the controversial family.
  2. May 3, 2011
    6
    It's never easy turning national tragedy into tasteful TV. Often fears of controversy cause programme-makers to act conservatively, play it safe, and hope to duck controversy by putting a glossy sheen on historical events. Unfortunately for The Kennedys, although it does do some things brilliantly, its creators, who seem to have been all to conscious of the risks, have nonetheless createdIt's never easy turning national tragedy into tasteful TV. Often fears of controversy cause programme-makers to act conservatively, play it safe, and hope to duck controversy by putting a glossy sheen on historical events. Unfortunately for The Kennedys, although it does do some things brilliantly, its creators, who seem to have been all to conscious of the risks, have nonetheless created a drama that ends up falling between two stools. Undoubtedly, The Kennedys hits certain nails squarely on the head. First of all, the casting for the series was brilliant - Greg Kinnear was as good a JFK as you could hope for, the perfect balance of vulnerability, presence and sleaze - and although she's received a lot of flak, mostly due to events that have nothing to do with the series - Katie Holmes, at moments, truly owns the role of Jackie Kennedy. That's not to say that her performance doesn't slip; like most of the principle actors in The Kennedys, Mrs. Cruise struggles to maintain her embodiment of one of the 20th centuries iconic figures, but I would argue that such a failing isn't really the fault of the performers. What really lets The Kennedys down is the writing. Joel Surnow and David Kronish are, of course, most famous for their work on 24 and, much like The Kennedys, that series was held together by the magnetism of the core cast. Unfortunately for Surnow and Kronish however, the lives of The Kennedy family include few opportunities for on-screen torture, explosions and car chases (although it would be wonderful to see John F. Kennedy trying to solve the civil rights problem in one wild day, armed only with a Glock and a mobile phone). The net result is that Surnow and Kronish manage to turn many of the key events of modern American history into pedestrian re-enactments, affairs generally lacking the gravitas they deserve. Worse still, and the primary problem with The Kennedys, is that the programme-makers have tried to cram far too much into too small an amount of screen time. 8 episodes to try and encapsulate even only the significant moments in the legacy of the Kennedy family just isn't enough, and in the whistle-stop tour delivered by series director Jon Cassar we skim along the surface of what happened, never managing to go into depth. Of all things, the series ends up feeling light-weight, and the seemingly constant need for Cassar to flash back or forward kills the pace and tension of proceedings stone dead. Of course, some of the most laboriously expositional dialogue in recent television history also distracts which, combined with the most functional, dull and themeless music I have heard in a TV drama of late, is likely to leave audiences perplexed; bearing in mind that 2008's John Adams, directed by Tom Hooper (the recent recipient of a well-deserved Academy Award for The Kingââ Collapse
  3. Apr 15, 2011
    4
    Honestly My Review Is Mixed! :D
    The Acting & Writing Is Really Bad. But There Is A Little Hint Of Good With The Show...
    This Is NOT The Worst Or Best Show Currently Airing On T.V.
Metascore
50

Mixed or average reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 24
  2. Negative: 5 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Glenn Garvin
    Apr 7, 2011
    70
    The sheer power of these stories carries The Kennedys even during the occasional stumbles that result from trying to pack 40 years of history into five and a half hours of programming.
  2. Reviewed by: Jonathan Storm
    Apr 4, 2011
    40
    Except for Tom Wilkinson, who's extraordinary as Joe, most of the actors, especially poor Katie Holmes, even if she at least looks like Jackie Kennedy, seem like furniture, too.
  3. Reviewed by: Paige Wiser
    Apr 1, 2011
    50
    The Kennedys is eight hours long, trying to strike an uncomfortable balance between high-minded and trashy. It does not succeed.