Seberg Parent Guide
This film has an important message but we can't recommend it due to adulterous sexual content and profanity.
Parent Movie Review
Jean Seberg (Kristen Stewart), a young midwestern girl who made her dreams come true as a star in French New Wave cinema, is in trouble. After helping Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie) with funding for his civil rights movement, and later with the Black Panthers, she has found herself in the crosshairs of the FBI. Jack Solomon (Jack O’Connell), the agent assigned to bug her home, tap her phones, and observe her, becomes part of a campaign to discredit and humiliate Seberg publicly. As Jean realizes just what she’s got herself into, the pressure starts to unravel her entire life…
Kristen Stewart has an undeserved reputation as a somewhat wooden performer - I think stemming largely from her unfortunate turn in the Twilight series. In Seberg, however, Stewart is warm, exciting, and personable. Yvan Attal, on the other hand, who plays Romain Gary (her husband), is about as bland as is humanly possible. He probably would have been equally interesting had he been cast as a two-by-four in a suit with a fake beard. On the other hand, the production is certainly easy on the eyes. Maybe it’s just my continued love of all that sixties architecture and interior design, but this movie is an absolute pleasure to look at.
Seberg has a highly significant subject, i.e. the persecution of political activists by the government, which should make the movie valuable as an education tool. Unfortunately, its suitability is undercut by its numerous content concerns. Adulterous sexual encounters which include toplessness and cartoons with racist and pornographic subjects do not lend themselves well to viewing by teens - nor do the over two dozen profanities. Frequent consumption of alcohol, cigarettes, and a brief scene including marijuana do not add to the educational merits either. I’m not saying these aspects are historically inaccurate, but it does make it rather difficult to recommend to viewers who don’t have a high level of tolerance for this kind of material.
This is an interesting film about a hugely important issue, which is largely out of public consciousness. The fact that, for the better part of twenty years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation used its nearly limitless resources to bug, threaten, and harass American citizens involved in the civil rights movement (among other politically unpopular causes) is deeply disturbing. While I appreciate the film bringing this unpleasant piece of history back into the spotlight, I wish that it had taken a deeper cut into its source material. The human angle is good for attracting attention and personal interest, but what this film needs is a better sense of the political context that allowed these abuses.Directed by Benedict Andrews. Starring Kristen Stewart, Zazie Beetz, and Anthony Mackie. Running time: 102 minutes. Theatrical release February 28, 2020. Updated May 28, 2020
Watch the trailer for Seberg
Rating & Content Info
Why is Seberg rated R? Seberg is rated R by the MPAA for language, sexual content/nudity and some drug use.
Violence: A person is shot at but is uninjured. A character is verbally abusive and threatening violence in a domestic context. An individual kicks an animal which dies as a result. Someone unsuccessfully attempts suicide with prescription medication.
Sexual Content: Men and women are shown having adulterous sex; a woman’s breasts are visible. There is a crude cartoonish drawing of individuals having sex.
Profanity: There are almost three dozen profanities in the movie, including 19 uses of a sexual expletive, five uses of scatological curses, minor profanity, and terms of deity. Characters also use racial slurs.
Alcohol / Drug Use: People are shown drinking to excess but are not typically depicted as intoxicated. Individuals are briefly shown smoking cigarettes and marijuana.
Page last updated May 28, 2020
Seberg Parents' Guide
Jean Seberg puts her money where her mouth is by donating to a number of civil rights causes. It is important to support ideals we believe in, even if we can’t afford to make large donations. What is a charity or social group in your area which you support? What can you do to help their cause?
The FBI has a long history of extremely unpleasant operations against individuals who disagreed with J. Edgar Hoover or the U.S. Government. Other than the operations against Jean Seberg, which other individuals were targeted by COINTELPRO? Has the FBI been involved in anything similar since?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
March by the late Representative John Lewis is a graphic novel which covers his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement and is an excellent resource for younger readers.
David J Garrow exposed the FBI’s surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr. in The FBI and Martin Luther King, JR>: From “Solo” to Memphis.
For a story of an FBI informant, you can read A Spy in Canaan. Author Marc Perrusquia digs into the life of African-American photographer Ernest Withers to photograph the civil rights movement and monitor the activities of Martin Luther King and other activists.
News About "Seberg"
Seberg has had a staggered release. Our review will be posted on 7 March 2020.
Related home video titles:
For those of you just looking for the classic late-sixties Hollywood aesthetic, Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino, which won Academy Awards for both Brad Pitt’s performance and its superb production design.
If you want a focused look at the Civil Rights movement, 2014’s Selma follows the story of Martin Luther King, Jr’s involvement in the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery marches for voting rights. It also depicts part of the harassment campaign against King by the FBI.
Malcolm X stars Denzel Washington as the inflammatory civil rights leader advocating for a more robust Black Nationalism to improve conditions for African Americans.