Seberg (2019)

Seberg
Director: Benedict Andrews
Writer: Joe Shrapnel, Anna Waterhouse
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Yvan Attal, Gabriel Sky, Jack O’Connell, Margaret Qualley, Colm Meaney, Vince Vaughn, Stephen Root, Anthony Mackie, Zazie Beetz
Seen on: 8.10.2020

Content Note: (critical treatment of) racism

Plot:
Jean Seberg (Kristen Stewart) leaves her husband Romain Gary (Yvan Attal) and their son (Gabriel Sky) in France to go to the USA to shoot a movie. On her flight, she meets Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie) and finds herself drawn to him, as well as to his politics: he fights for (Black) civil rights. Jean becomes involved with Hakim and the cause, drawing the attention of the FBI who fear that her celebrity status will lend to much credence to the civil rights movement. They send agent Jack Solomon (Jack O’Connell) to spy on her and embark on a campaign to completely discredit Jean, utterly destroying her reputation.

Seberg has its heart in the right place, but it does make some problematic choices in the way it tells its story, leaving it to undermine itself.

The poster showing Jean Seberg (Kristen Stewart) in profile, wearing a striped dress.
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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Director: Benedict Andrews
Writer: Tennessee Williams
Cast: Sienna Miller, Jack O’Connell, Colm Meaney, Lisa Palfrey, Hayley Squires, Brian Gleeson, Richard Hansell
Seen on: 22.2.2018

Plot:
Southern plantation patriarch Big Daddy (Colm Meaney) is celebrating his birthday and the remission of his cancer, and his son Brick (Jack O’Connell) and his wife Maggie (Sienna Miller) are getting ready for the party. More or less. Brick has a broken leg and is drunk already. Maggie worries about Brick’s brother Gooper and his wife Mae (Hayley Squires) who she believes are trying to cut them out of the estate. And that’s not the only tension in the family. And things aren’t exactly great between Brick and Maggie either.

I really enjoyed this production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, even if not on all counts. But it’s a strong version of an excellent play and a great evening of theater.

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A Streetcar Named Desire

A Streetcar Named Desire
Director: Benedict Andrews
Writer: Tennessee Williams
Cast: Gillian Anderson, Ben Foster, Vanessa Kirby, Corey Johnson
[I reviewed reading the play here.]

Plot:
Blanche DuBois (Gillian Anderson) comes to visit her sister Stella (Vanessa Kirby) in New Orleans. The two of them come from a family of plantation owners who have been slowly but steadily going bankrupt. Now their plantation (Belle Reve) is gone and Blanche, who has always been a nervous type, is falling apart due to her alcoholism and the fact that she can’t really deal with her growing age and fading looks. Stella is happy to see Blanche, but Stella’s husband Stanley (Ben Foster), a factory worker, doesn’t trust Blanche or her story about how Belle Reve was lost. Blanche herself is shocked about the circumstances Stella lives in. As Blanche’s and Stanley’s worlds collide, something has got to give.

I love A Streetcar Named Desire. It really is one of my favorite plays. And because I love it so much, I have high expectations and a clear image of what the play should be like. Unfortunately, Benedict Andrews did not fulfill them.

streetcarnameddesire

[SPOILERS]

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Groß und klein [Big and Small]

Groß und klein
Director: Benedict Andrews
Writer: Botho Strauß (translated by Martin Crimp)
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Lynette Curran, Anita Hegh, Belinda McClory, Josh McConville, Robert Menzies, Katrina Milosevic, Yalin Ozucelik, Richard Piper, Richard Pyros, Sophie Ross, Chris Ryan, Christopher Stollery, Martin Vaughan
Part of: Wiener Festwochen

Plot:
Lotte (Cate Blanchett) is desperately trying to connect to the people around her. But as she wanders from scene to scene in search of a connection, things seem to be always getting in the way.

The play is a strange one and it took me a bit to really get into it. But once I did, I absolutely loved it. And that is not even taking into account how wonderful, awesome and brilliant Cate Blanchett is.

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