In the manner of which Chandler says sarcastic comments on the television show Friends: “Could this movie BE any more boring?” SEBERG is super duper boring and it shouldn’t have been with the amount of content the filmmakers could’ve pulled from real life young starlet Jean Seberg’s crazy fast life that tragically ended when she was 40. But no, the movie focuses too much on only 3 years of it, and saves the most interesting aspects to happen either off screen or saved for dumb title cards right before it cuts to end credits. And it’s a shame, because Kristen Stewart gives a hell of a performance, arguably her best yet. And it’s even more of a shame considering that Kristen Stewart is acting like she finally wants to be there in the spotlight of Hollywood’s most prestige actors/actresses, she’s just picking the wrong films to try and have a resurgence in her career. After all, she’s had to apologize for the Twilight Saga multiple times the past several years. The real problem with the movie is that it tells and not shows. The movie jumps in time a little too much and we are told, through just a couple of sentences of dialogue, what has happened to her, and as a audience we are supposed to pick up and imagine those pieces to try and catch up to the present time of where these people are at. Yeah, never ever do that in your movie. Ever.
Always try and show, especially if you have the ability to. And they very much had the ability. This is an Amazon Prime original film, and it is also gorgeously shot, showing the glitz and glamour of Seberg’s home life, with decadent giant houses filled with nice looking amenities. They had to have had the budget or could’ve asked for more, to film these certain scenes we are just told that happened (I don’t want to give these scenes away as they are spoilers to Ms. Seberg’s life, but if you looked her up on Wikipedia and then watched the movie, you’d know what I’m talking about). But no, we are just told, which to me as a film critic, is very frustrating and always almost unforgivable save if you have a low budget and can’t do much, like Amazon Prime’s other recent original movie: The Vast Of Night. I’m reviewing this film because like Just Mercy and Portrait Of A Lady On Fire, the release date is kind of blurry between late 2019 and 2020. Couldn’t not find one theater to see it in when it was out, and then just dumped on Amazon Prime mid May. Well, there is a reason for the random dump, the film isn’t that great. The film is directed by Benedict Andrews, who I’m not familiar with, but when looking at his history, he is mostly a stage play director, which makes total sense, as the whole movie feels like it could be a stage play.
IMDB.com describes Seberg as: “Inspired by real events in the life of French New Wave icon Jean Seberg, the late 1960s, Hoover’s FBI targeted her because of her political and romantic involvement with civil rights activist Hakim Jamal.” To elaborate further on IMDB.com’s description. Hakim Jamal was part of the Black Panther movement, which the FBI was deeply scared and paranoid would commit an act of domestic terrorism on white people at the time. The film has the paranoia down pat, and the FBI infiltrating her life is a little interesting, but other than that, it is a snooze fest, consisting of decent performances that are wasted on nothing to do. Anthony Mackie and Zazie Beetz are in this too, playing Hakim and his wife respectively, but Hakim and Seberg’s affair is kind of glossed over with two small throwaway scenes of Beetz telling Stewart/Seberg to back off. There is also a side B plot involving one of the FBI agents, played by Unbroken’s Jack O’ Connell, who actually begins to have sympathy for Seberg’s plight, unfortunately it feels like that sympathy is rushed and just shoved into the ending climax confrontation between him and Seberg. They should’ve just made a biography on her whole life, her rise and fall from fame, and made it a bit longer. This movie only clocks in at a little under an hr and 40 minutes, but it all feels really superficial. If that makes any sense to you. Reading up on her, her life was anything but superficial, and it’s a shame that this boring product is what we got from it.