From the Journals of Jean Seberg

Watch From the Journals of Jean Seberg

  • 1995
  • 1 hr 37 min
  • 7.1  (286)

(Note: Although Jean Seberg passed away in 1979, the movie features her own recorded diary entries, creating a powerful narrative thread.) "From the Journals of Jean Seberg" is a stirring documentary-style film that illuminates the life and struggles of the iconic actress who captured audiences' hearts in the 1960s. Directed by Mark Rappaport and released in 1995, the movie features a mix of archival footage, interviews with Seberg's family members, colleagues, and friends, and most notably, Jean Seberg's own diary entries.

The movie provides a glimpse into the psyche of a woman who became a Hollywood sensation at the young age of 19 with her performance in "Saint Joan." However, it also delves into the personal struggles that plagued her later in life, from her troubled marriage to writer Romain Gary to her infamous involvement with the Black Panther movement.

The film is structured around Jean Seberg's diary entries, which were discovered following her tragic death in 1979, and which provide a deeply personal and sometimes painful window into her inner thoughts and feelings. Narrator Mary Beth Hurt brings these passages to life with a gentle, introspective voiceover that makes it feel like we are hearing Seberg's own voice.

The movie opens with a montage of Jean Seberg's early career, including clips from "Bonjour Tristesse" and "Breathless," two films that turned her into an international star. But then the tone shifts when we hear Jean Seberg's own voice, as she reflects on her "poor little rich girl" background and the pressures of being in the public eye from such a young age. She notes that "fame is a monster" and laments the fact that she doesn't feel like she can be herself in public.

The film explores the darker aspects of Seberg's personal life, including her tumultuous marriage to Romain Gary, with whom she had a son, Alexandre. The movie hints at the rampant infidelity on both sides of the relationship, as well as the fact that Gary was heavily involved with the CIA. Seberg, for her part, suffered from depression and turned to alcohol and prescription drugs to cope with her anxiety.

One of the most powerful threads in the movie is Seberg's involvement with the Black Panther movement, which caught the attention of the FBI and led to a campaign of harassment and defamation against her. Seberg was targeted because of her financial support of the Panthers and her affair with one of their leaders, Hakim Jamal. The film shows how Seberg's life was turned upside down when her phone was tapped, her apartment was bugged, and her personal life was smeared in the press.

In one of the most poignant diary entries, Seberg reflects on the emotional toll of being constantly under surveillance. She writes that she feels like she is "in a fishbowl" and can't escape the scrutiny of the FBI. Her despair is palpable, as she worries about how all of this is affecting her son and her mental health.

Despite the heavy subject matter, "From the Journals of Jean Seberg" is an incredibly engaging and intimate film. The diary entries provide a personal touch that makes Seberg feel like a real person, rather than just the glamorous actress we see onscreen. The film also sheds light on the era in which Seberg lived, highlighting the political and social tensions that defined the 1960s and 1970s.

Overall, "From the Journals of Jean Seberg" is a moving portrait of a woman who carried the weight of the world on her shoulders. By combining archival footage, interviews, and diary entries, the film creates a multi-layered narrative that explores not only Seberg's life but also the larger cultural struggles of her time. Mary Beth Hurt's narration is both gentle and powerful, capturing the essence of Seberg's voice with grace and empathy. Anyone interested in the life of Jean Seberg or the political climate of the 1960s would do well to watch this stirring and thought-provoking film.

From the Journals of Jean Seberg is a 1995 documentary with a runtime of 1 hour and 37 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1.

From the Journals of Jean Seberg
Where to Watch From the Journals of Jean Seberg
From the Journals of Jean Seberg is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download on demand at . Some platforms allow you to rent From the Journals of Jean Seberg for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • Runtime
    1 hr 37 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (286)