Seberg review round-up: Kristen Stewart's film is 'rarely as great as its lead actress'

FP Staff

Aug 31, 2019 11:09:08 IST

Kristen Stewart portrays the iconic actress Jean Seberg in the movie Seberg.

The film, which boasts of an all-star cast, is a political thriller, and has been directed by Benedict Andrews (known for the movie 2016 movie Una, starring Rooney Mara). The story of the movie is inspired by true events in the life of the actress Jean Seberg, a popular figure in the '60s. Seberg was illegally targeted by the FBI surveillance program COINTELPRO because of her support of the Black Panther Party.

The Guardian lauds Kristen Stewart's efforts in the film to make it look as authentic as possible. However, the publication adds, "What lets her (Stewart) down is the by-numbers plotting, together with the sort of flat, declamatory dialogue that might have been lifted from a teen-magazine photo story. She says, 'I want to make a difference' and 'I’ve been running from that girl my whole life.' She says, 'I’m funding the Panthers', just to be absolutely sure that we’re all up to speed."

 Seberg review round-up: Kristen Stewarts film is rarely as great as its lead actress

Still from Seberg. Image from Twitter

TIME's Stephanie Zacharek notes that Stewart is able to bring a sense of humanity to the persona of Seberg. “Stewart is off the charts, though that’s hardly a surprise. She’s among the greatest actresses of our day, though to call her ‘great’ does a disservice to her subtlety — maybe it’s better to call her the master of the small gesture,” she says. “The flicker of her eyelids is a dialect unto itself.”

However, IndieWire is less impressed with the biopic, calling it "breathlessly awful." The reviewer even criticises Andrews' filmmaking — "Less a biopic about the Breathless star than a paranoid thriller that revolves around her fateful role in the FBI’s COINTELPRO surveillance program, Andrews’ film might position Seberg as its subject, but it ultimately just uses her as a screen on which to project a story about someone else."

The Wrap opines that Stewart's acting is far superior to the filmmaking. The publication says, "And while Seberg is rarely as great as its lead actress, the film does shed light on a tragic corner of American history that’s not discussed nearly enough — the US citizens who had their lives shattered by J Edgar Hoover’s secret COINTELPRO (counter-intelligence program) surveillance that targeted anyone the FBI considered “subversive,” be they Vietnam War protesters, black or indigenous activists, even environmentalists."

Updated Date: Aug 31, 2019 11:09:08 IST