Jean Seberg was an iconic American 60s screen star and darling of the French New Wave cinema movement but it's her life outside film that makes her worthy of a biopic.
Seberg starred in around 32 films but was also famous for her blond pixie haircut and liberal views challenging the repressive social attitudes of the 1950s. She was hounded by the FBI for her involvement with civil rights activists and, aged 40, was found dead in her car in Paris.
Australian director Benedict Andrews has refined this into a sleek story, with stylish costumes threatening to overshadow their characters and a focus on the period when she became involved with civil rights activist Hakim Jamal (Mackie).
Jamal introduced Seberg to members of the Black Panther movement and her financial support of civil rights organisations brought her to the attention of the FBI, which used invasive surveillance, intimidation and defamatory tactics to discredit her.
Hers was an eventful life in itself, so it's curious the film-makers have created a fictional FBI agent named Jack Solomon (Jack O'Connell).
Solomon goes to great lengths to pry into Seberg's life but, as his interference begins to seriously impact the actress' mental health, he begins to question the FBI's approach and his job's influence on his own life and marriage.
If the intention of the additional storyline is to add a thriller ingredient, it falls flat.
Seberg is a great looking film with fascinating themes at play but it's also light and languid, strugglings to carry an introspective look at two characters.
Kristen Stewart is in great form, delivering a nuanced performance of a woman who's unravelling. A stronger focus on Seberg may have made for a more satisfying film.
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Anthony Mackie
Director: Benedict Andrews
Running Time: 103 mins
Rating: M (Sex scenes, offensive language & nudity)
Verdict: Style over substance but Stewart shines.