Inspired by real events in the life of French New Wave icon Jean Seberg. In the late 1960s, Hoover’s FBI targeted her because of her political and romantic involvement with civil rights activist Hakim Jamal.
Jean Seberg was a prominent actress in her heyday, best remembered for her iconic performance in Jean-Luc Godard’s classic of the French New Wave movement, ‘Breathless’. This biopic is less interested in her acting career and more in her political activism, which put her in the crosshairs of the FBI and their illegal COINTELPRO surveillance program. It begins when she gets involved romantically with Hakim Jamal, a married man who was a prominent member of the Black Panthers, and the FBI identify her as a potential avenue to find out more about the group’s activities.
Kristen Stewart stars in the leading role as Seberg and her performance is better than the film that surrounds her. In a real life parallel, Stewart has also started acting in more French cinema much like Seberg did, and she delivers a good performance that gets at the heart of the dilemma inside a woman who is never truly happy. The FBI angle provides the intrigue in the story, so it’s disappointing that ‘Seberg’ is not nearly as interesting as it should be given the material. Jack O’Connell is the main representative from the FBI and he is portrayed as morally conflicted about his job which is clearly having a negative impact on Seberg’s life and her mental state.
‘Seberg’ isn’t a bad film by any means and Kristen Stewart is really good, but its problem is in taking a fascinating story based on real events and failing to turn it into an engaging movie, and I felt overall it was a little flat and less interesting than it could have been.
Directed By: Benedict Andrews
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Jack O’Connell, Margaret Qualley, Anthony Mackie, Colm Meaney, Zazie Beetz, Vince Vaughn, Yvan Attal, Stephen Root, Cornelius Smith Jr., Jade Pettyjohn, Ser’Darius Blain and James Jordan