Personal Shopper Movie Review
Personal Shopper Movie Review Metadata
There was once a time I dreaded Kristen Stewart’s name adorning theater marquees. I was not afraid of vampires, but I would cringe at the actress’s monotonous performances and that goddamn flicking of her hair. Luckily, she managed to control those habits and in 2014, completed her best performance ever in Olivier Assayas’s Clouds of Sils Maria. Stewart is excellent in her second collaboration with the French filmmaker, but Personal Shopper suffers from an identity crisis.
Stewart plays Maureen Cartwright, an American woman living and working in Paris, France. She is a medium – someone who communicates with the dead – and ever since her brother Lewis passed away, she has been eager to talk with him. In the film’s opening sequence, she stays the night in her brother’s country home, opening a shite ton of doors and attempting to reach the deceased sibling. It sets the film up as a sort of paranormal ghost story.
Maureen’s day job involves shopping for high-end clothing and expensive jewelry for Kyra (Nora von Waldstätten), a wealthy celebrity benefactor too busy to do it on her own. Oddly enough, this is the second time Stewart plays an assistant in one of Assayas’s stories. Maureen hates Kyra, especially when the domineering celeb commandeers the often on-loan items. Kyra’s lover probably hates her too. He’s a journalist named Ingo (Lars Eidinger) and he thinks Kyra is about to leave him. This film must be about relationships.
Personal Shopper shifts gears again when Maureen suddenly begins receiving texts from an unknown source. As she travels between England and Paris the texts become more personal and threatening in nature. Maureen and the viewer must question where these texts are coming from: Are they from her unhappy boyfriend in Oman? Is it a stalker? Is it her deceased brother reaching out from beyond? Whoever it is, Maureen flirts with danger and it leads to the discovery of a brutally murdered person. I won’t spoil the surprise, but the film has taken on a murder mystery tone.
In the end, Personal Shopper will only frustrate general audiences as it creates more questions then it provides answers. It can’t decide what type of film it wants to be, a pure indication of an Assayas picture. The film is what you make of it, and that’s usually better left to indie-lovers. The only constant is Stewart herself, whose subtle expressions and delicate movement naturally guide a tormented, hard-working woman through the film’s lulls and highlights. While this film is so last year (both figuratively and literally), I think the outfit works well on Stewart.