We gave it an A-
With her pixie hairdo and tomboy sturdiness, Jean Seberg was the antithesis of a lacquered Hollywood starlet. In Otto Preminger’s melodrama, based on Francoise Sagan’s novel, she plays the impulsive, spoiled teen daughter of a widower playboy (Niven), whose romance with an uptight divorcee (Kerr) during a summer idyll in the south of France leads to tragedy. Preminger fractures the story into a stark black-and-white present and nostalgic Technicolor past — a dramatically effective (and now so au courant) device that’s bolstered by gorgeous tracking shots and splendid acting. And though Seberg was clearly a novice compared to Niven and Kerr, it’s precisely her untrained naturalness that makes her performance so compelling. It’s also impossible to watch her anguished, tear-streaked face in the last scene and not think of her own troubled life and suspected suicide at 40.