Biopics don’t get more standard than Seberg. The film is watchable and efficient to an extent, but it also feels manufactured by a faulty machine.
Kristen Stewart (Lizzie, JT LeRoy) plays Jean Seberg, a stunning movie star who emerges out of the French New Wave movement to make a return to Hollywood pictures. Her new American presence was shortly followed by a controversial endorsement of the Black Panther Party, where she built a relationship with civil rights activist Hakim Jamal (Marvel’s Anthony Mackie). The relationship, however, evolved into a passionate affair unbeknownst to Jamal’s wife Dorothy (Joker’s Zazie Beetz) and Jean’s husband Romain Gary (Yvan Attal). When the FBI was alerted to Jean’s involvement with Hakim and the Black Panthers, the silver screen starlet was placed on intense and extensive surveillance, which increased her paranoia and resulted in psychological damage.
Race screenwriters Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse, along with novice director Benedict Andrews, target their focus on Jean’s psychological fallout rather than her initial interest with the Black Panthers; even going so far as glossing over her romance with Hakim. Seberg rushes through establishing scenes to eventually become a thriller but, by doing so, Jean Seberg becomes vague and inaccessible for the audience. Nonetheless, Stewart does a good job holding her own in an uncoordinated production. Likewise for the rest of the cast (Mackie, Attal, and Beetz, along with Jack O’Connell, Margaret Qualley, Colm Meaney, Stephen Root, and Vince Vaughn). They’re fine, but their adequate performances only reflect the plain movie they’re starring in.
Seberg has a good eye for period detail and it still informs the audience of the historic importance behind this intrusion of privacy. But, the unreliable filmmaking and screenwriting doesn’t carry the same prominence.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie