Personal Shopper

Kristen Stewart, I’m sorry honey, I didn’t really know you could act. You seemed up until now to have two settings: eyebrows and lip biting. Yet here you are, quietly impressing me.

Maureen (Stewart) is indeed a personal shopper. She picks up the glamourous clothes and accessories her celebrity client can’t be bothered to. Maureen despises Kyra but the MV5BOGFiY2U2ZTYtOTRmMS00MTY2LWE1OGEtZDUyNTI4N2I4YWUwXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjcwNzI4MzE@._V1_money’s good enough to pay the rent in Paris, which is important to her. She’s in the city and won’t leave until she hears from her brother. Her dearly departed brother. Which is an obstacle of course. But she and her recently deceased twin brother are\were both mediums with a genetic heart defect, and they’d promised each other that whoever died first would signal the other from beyond, if such a thing existed.

But when contact IS made, how sure can Maureen really be that it’s her brother and not some creep? Or some other ghost? She wants SO badly for it to be him, but her skeptical nature can’t help but vacillate. This makes Personal Shopper a film that’s hard to pin down. It approaches grief in a way we’re unaccustomed to, but it’s also part ghost story, part coming of age, part mystery, part spiritual discovery.

Personal Shopper compels even though it’s largely about mournful solitude. Director Olivier Assayas, who previously got an excellent performance out of Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria, creates an ambiance that pulls you in as much as it creeps you out. But he doesn’t overdose on the ghost story stuff, he knows it’s scarier and more effective to dole it out in small measures.

It probably helps that Assayas wrote Maureen specifically for Kristen Stewart; she’s actually meant to be taciturn and moody. But the character ultimately lacks depth, which is pure laziness since we spend pretty much the entire movie with her. It’s still a good movie though, with an atmosphere that won’t quit and a solution that begs to be found, even if we think we already know it.

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21 thoughts on “Personal Shopper

  1. J.

    Sounds intriguing… I don’t think much of Kristen Stewart, but I thought she was pretty decent in Welcome to the Rileys. But you’re saying her performance here is impressive, eh? Jings!

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  2. Liz A.

    I had heard something about this one. Surprising that she can act. But I guess there must be some skill there or why else would she go into the profession? (I guess we can assume the problem lies with her previous directors?)

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  3. screenzealots

    This is one of my absolute favorite movies of the year, hands down. I had the “pleasure” of seeing it in a theater crowded with a group of cackling women who were so confused by the whole thing that they sat there dumfounded (I’m guessing they were expecting a “Hangover” style movie due to the title)? Stewart has been doing some incredible work (“Twilight” films excluded) and is quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. Check out Clouds of Sils Maria, Welcome to the Rileys and The Runaways.

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