A personal shopper in Paris refuses to leave the city until she makes contact with her twin brother who previously died there. Her life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text message.
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Director Olivier Assayas continues to bring out the best in Kristen Stewart with the interestingly messy "Personal Shopper." The scene halfway through the film of Stewart both frightened and excited as she texts with an intimidating stranger - lost in her own world as a train full of people go about their everyday business around her - might be the most perfect depiction of millennial ennui yet captured on film.
Kristen Stewart being herself... I start to think that her career will be this: she finding roles that are shades of herself. That being said, I think she brought the sense of dread, (dis)belief and existencial crisis that the character asked for. The final minutes were amazing: as the film ends, you're still wondering if the spectres, floating glasses and earth shakes were real or a product of Maureen's imagination.
There's a specter haunting Europe these days... I'm probably the only one who thinks that the "ghost story" is detrimental to an otherwise interesting narrative about neoliberalism, post-modernity, non places, liquid identities, the complete commodification of life in 21st Europe, but that's ok. There are traces of Gibsonian post-sci-fi that are much more interesting than the so-called supernatural elements. Traces.
This film is like getting 10 missed calls from Kristen Stewart and texts asking her brother if he is at peace and her brother finally calls back like "omg dude! I was but not anymore cause u keep buggin me about d afterlife!"
A cipher herself, an actor, arguably, is a golem-like figure, inscribed within an artifice and animated by a script. An actor’s virtuosity, in this reading, is an aspect of his vacancy--meaning not vacuity, but availability to new lodgers. And Kristen Stewart, well, she avails. She avails well. A real persona shopper, nicht wahr? (And I wrote this: https://bostonhassle.com/personal-shopper/)
Assayas has created an interesting mix of ghost story, fashion and thriller but its central reliance on modern technology (and the possible ghost in the machine) sabotages it from being something special. Working again with Kirsten Stewart, Assayas has drawn out another wonderful performance full of grief, spirituality and avarice. The problem is the obvious villain and the fact that texting is just not cinematic.
Assayas stirs up a sense of aimlessness that works on both a personal and societal level. Stewart is breathtaking in the film's most sensual moments. What haunts her character isn't particularly frightening, but it lingers.
An Assayas ghost story that itself ends up in limbo, somewhere between the ridiculousness of a good B-movie and the serious tragedy that allows high-minded horror to pull it off. It's most successful when Stewart’s character is enigmatic and when Assayas leaves you wondering which genre the film will pick next. It can keep you guessing right up to the moment you realize it leaves you with less than both of you want.