sun 20/09/2020

Seberg review - lightweight script, heavyweight performance | reviews, news & interviews

Seberg review - lightweight script, heavyweight performance

Seberg review - lightweight script, heavyweight performance

Kristen Stewart dazzles in this glitzy, puddle-deep account of Jean Seberg

Kristen Stewart as Hollywood icon Jean Seberg

It’s 1968, and Seberg leaves her husband, Romain Gary (Yvan Attal) and son, Alexandre (Gabriel Sky) for an audition in Hollywood. She seems happy to be going. Touching down in LAX she joins a group of black activists, led by Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie), and offers up a black power salute. Her intentions are unclear.

It’s 1968, and Seberg leaves her husband, Romain Gary (Yvan Attal) and son, Alexandre (Gabriel Sky) for an audition in Hollywood. She seems happy to be going. Touching down in LAX she joins a group of black activists, led by Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie), and offers up a black power salute. Her intentions are unclear. Is this an act of solidarity in the fight for racial equality or a publicity stunt? It’s hard to tell, but it’s caught the attention of the FBI, and there are far reaching consequences.

Rachel Morrison’s crisp, elegant camera work and Jahmin Assa’s lavish production design, add an element of charm, but really, it’s Stewart that you should see Seberg for. Despite the soap opera script from Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel, Stewart elevates what’s on the page (and there isn’t much) to something quite sublime. She captures the essence of a woman driven to the edge by the relentless persecution from the powers that be.Kristen Stewart in SebergThe ultimate problem is that the script, and Australian director Benedict Andrews don’t know where the focus of the story is. Is it Seberg? Or perhaps Jack O’Connell’s fictionally, morally conscious FBI agent Jack Solomon? We get a tantalising diversion into the perspective of Dorothy Jamal (the brilliant Zazie Beetz), the wife of Jamal who discovers that her husband and Seberg have been having an affair.

Seberg never gets to grips with the complexity of the time, be that Hoover’s abuse of power authorising extreme operations to those he deemed "un-American" or the Civil Rights Movement. Even when it dabbles in the perils of celebrity platforms and the power of the press (or rather the gossip columnist), it’s shallow and simplistic.

The intention is there, but the execution is lacking, but thankfully Stewart’s skill as an actor is so potent that for all these flaws your attention will still be held.

@JosephDAWalsh

Stewart elevates what’s on the page to something quite sublime

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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