Title – Personal Shopper (2016)
Director – Olivier Assayas (Something in the Air)
Cast – Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz, Anders Danielsen Lie
Plot – Living in Paris and working as a high-end personal shopper, Maureen Cartwright (Stewart) is determined to make contact with her recently deceased twin brother Lewis, who died of congenital heart diseases that she too has been diagnosed with.
“You know how they say the dead watch over the living? I’ve thought about that a lot”
Review by Eddie on 30/10/2017
Those going into Personal Shopper expecting some type of straightforward narrative of an as per-usual glum Kristen Stewart going around trying on clothes and living the high living lifestyle will surely be disappointed by Olivier Assayas latest film, as this supernatural tinged thriller mystery is an anything but straightforward experience.
Winning the Best Director award at last year’s Cannes Film Festival for this effort, Personal Shopper sees Assayas re-team with Stewart after their successful collaboration on Clouds of Sils Maria and the two artists have seemingly in the space of two films developed quite the artistic connection as Assayas assured hand behind the camera works seamlessly with Stewart, as her inwardly haunted Maureen Cartwright tries desperately to connect with her recently deceased twin brother Lewis, only to find herself in a potentially dangerous and possibly otherworldly situation.
Personal Shopper is almost unclassifiable and can’t be pigeonholed into a specific genre as Assayas comfortably enters into horror/thriller territory as easily as he does drama/mystery as Maureen’s experience with the world beyond our own makes itself more apparent and her dealings with an unknown “messenger” take hold of her increasingly complicated world.
Talking to much about Assayas’s layered narrative would undo many of the films surprise’s as we’re constantly taken into routes we don’t expect and it’s highly plausible that Assayas’s finale will be one of those cinematic endings that creates more than its fair share of heated online discussions and theories.
In saying this, Personal Shopper isn’t an easily accessible film, its slowly paced and features a bunch of rather unlikeable characters but Assayas’s ability to create mood and atmosphere can’t be questioned while Stewart delivers one of her best turns as an adult lead as Maureen.
As if Twilight was but a sparkling distant memory, Stewart’s brave and committed turn as the tormented Maureen holds the film together through some of its rougher patches and some of the scenarios/situations Assayas has asked his leading lady to be a part of could’ve easily gotten the better of lesser performers.
It might not be a turn that manifest’s the haters into followers but there’s little questioning Stewart’s ability to play these certain roles she’s become attributed to isn’t amongst the best in the business today.
Final Say –
A truly original piece of filmmaking that isn’t made for mass appeal and a work of art that doesn’t always hit the high notes it intended to, Personal Shopper is a film like we’ve never seen before and an unnerving experience that will likely stay with you after the credits have rolled; if you happen to be one of the few that had been transfixed by Maureen’s experiences with the forces we have yet to understand.
3 ½ dropped glasses out of 5