Review: Seberg

Kristen Stewart in Seberg

Seberg is a biopic about actress Jean Seberg at a time in her life when she went to California to make a Hollywood movie. It’s available on Prime Video. There are spoilers ahead.

Kristen Stewart plays Seberg. I knew the name Jean Seberg, but I didn’t know anything about her. I thought she was French. In fact, she was American. That mistaken notion was due to Seberg working in France exclusively after the debacle Seberg explores. At the time of this film she lived in France and was married to a Frenchman, Romain Gary (Yvan Attal). They had a young son.

Jean met Black Panther Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie) on the plane as she was coming here from France. In Los Angeles, Jamal took her to a school and showed her the type of work the Panthers were doing. She made a big cash donation. And she began an affair with Jamal.

The FBI hated the Black Panthers, so Jean became a target for them as well. They placed listening devices in her home, tapped her phones, and photographed her every move.

Slowly she realized what was happening and paranoia set in. The FBI released damaging drawings and fake letters to the press about her.

The timeline was very confusing in the film. She made a movie in Hollywood. She turned up 2 months pregnant but swore Jamal was not the father – she said it was a Mexican man from a film she made in Mexico. She grew overwhelmed with paranoia.

Then she took a fist full of pills and tried to commit suicide. But suddenly she was suing Newsweek for defamation. At the same time her baby girl (father unmentioned) was only 2 days old when she died. The film makes it seem like all this happened simultaneously.

One FBI man, Jack Soloman (Jack O’Connell), had a conscience. He knew the FBI had ruined her life. So he took her files and offered them to her. She looked through it, called it sick, and gave it back. Why she didn’t take it to the press is unexplained. Knowing that she was right about what had been done to her was a relief to her. She felt a great weight lifted from her shoulders.

That’s where the film ended, with some end credits explaining when she died.

I have no idea if that is an accurate account of her life or what the FBI did to her (and to the Black Panthers). But now I’m curious. I want to know more. The movie failed in many ways, but it did make me curious about Jean Seberg.

Kristen Stewart did an outstanding job with the rather poor script she was given. With the right hair and costumes, she evoked the real woman admirably.

the poster for seberg

Here’s a look at the trailer.

Are you curious enough to give this film a try?

2 thoughts on “Review: Seberg”

  1. This was an pretty awful movie. I read the book ‘Played Out’ The Jean Seberg Story by David Richards back like in high school – I still have it so it shows how good of a book it is. That they can have a whole movie about her and not mention Andy Warhol even once, said it all for me. I wasn’t in love with the performance as you were, except they actually made Kristen Stewart smile twice so that’s saying something I guess.. hahahaha but she did look like her with the hair & fashion – the real Jean was much prettier. If you want to know the real story, the book will tell it to you. I will be more than happy to send it to you for a read as it might not be available in print anymore.. 🙂 if you’re interested and are a reader that is.

    1. That’s a really kind offer. I’ll find something though. I wasn’t in love with Kristen Stewart, but I did think she made a valiant effort to do something with bad material.

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