Director: Benedict Andrews
Writer: Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse (Screenplay)
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Jack O’Connell, Margaret Qualley, Vince Vaughn, Stephen Root, Anthony Mackie, Zazie Beetz
Plot: 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.
Tagline – Actress. Activist. Adversary.
Runtime: 1 Hour 42 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Seberg starts when French New Wave actress Jean Seberg (Stewart) returns to America, looking to try and make an impact in Hollywood, on route she meets Hakim Jamal (Mackie) one of the Black Panthers on a flight, where she decides to make a stand with them.
This action turns the FBI in her direction as their own surveillance investigation into the Panthers wants to know the connection. FBI agent Jack Solomon (O’Connell) leads this investigation, wanting to do the right thing, but the other agents are a lot more ruthless, leading to the actress’s life spiralling out of control.
Thoughts on Seberg
Characters & Performances – Jean Seberg is a French New Wave actress, turning heads with her performances looking to make it in Hollywood. She is an activist though, which will see her siding with the Black Panthers, drawing the attention of the FBI. She is using her star power to help a cause, but her personal affairs will see her life start to spiral out of control, with her affairs making the headlines and the FBI targeting her. Kristen Stewart does a great job in this leading role, proving she is one of the best actresses of her generation, showing the actress in the mindsets she goes through during the film. Jack Solomon is the FBI agent that is running the surveillance, he does the right thing when running the operation, but is left seeing the others around him breaking the rules, causing more problems with how they are conducting the investigation. Jack O’Connell does a good job in his role, he shows what a more elite FBI agent would look and operate like through this film. Hakim Jamal is the member of the Black Panthers that Jean meets and spends time with, he speaks for the right cause, but we don’t spend as much time as we could with the character. We get to meet the other FBI agents who are trying to find a story, the people who think the Black Panthers are a threat to society. The performances from the rest of the supporting cast are strong throughout, with nobody struggling to make their impact in this film.
Story – The story here follows Jean Seberg who makes a connection to the Black Panther before getting put through years of harassment from the FBI. This is a story that showed how people would have seen their lives put through ruins because of what people want to think about them, seeing how people can become targeted for no reason and a fight for rights will always have casualties. We do witness how the victim can try to be strong and will be stuck with the pain of the pressure on them. It also highlights just how the FBI would operate against people they shouldn’t be targeting, just looking for excuses for their own actions.
Themes – Seberg is a biopic that looks at the life of Jean Seberg who became victimised by the FBI for taking a stand with the Black Panthers, a decision which would be right for the people to see, but the law didn’t accept it. The late 1960s and early 1970s settings and costume design all look flawless through the film too.