Ghosts, fashion and Paris. What could be better? Sounds delicious, no? Add to that it is a real mystery. A mystery in the respect that you do not ever really know which way it is going. Leaves you feeling rather disconcerted in that you never can tell when the floor is going to give way from under your feet.
The film debuted at Cannes this year and was roundly booed. That is harsh and should not keep you away from the film. It is not a bad film. Problems arose due to the meshing of different genres by director Olivier Assayas. Character drama one moment then horror the next confused and disappointed some. While I in no way will claim that it is a perfect film; it is a film that will stick with you.
Director/screenwriter Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria, Paris, je t’aime) has said that this is a companion piece to his film Clouds of Sils Maria, which also stars Kristen Stewart. Though the films are quite different in subject and tone, but….probably because in both there is a young female character who is an outsider.
It is one of those films in which the less said about it the more you can enjoy it. That being said, Maureen (Kristen Stewart), who makes her living as a personal shopper for a German model/celebrity, is a 27-year-old who has just gone through a tragedy. Her twin brother, a medium, has recently suffered a heart incident and died. She finds out that they share a similar gene which could cause a premature death in her as well. Maureen returns to their childhood house hoping to get a sign that her brother is still around. Do they share the medium ability? Will she be able to receive a message from beyond the grave? Stuff begins to happen and that is all I am going to say…
Ghost stories are fairly tricky. Hard to do well and have people take seriously. Assayas places nods to some of the better ghost story films that have been made throughout Personal Shopper. There is also an interesting mix of genres going on with the whole ghost/supernatural side as well as the glitzy fashionista aspect of Maureen’s character. As for the horror part there are a couple of legit jumpy moments and several creepy sequences. Do we need more?
Once again Kristen Stewart proves that she is a good actress. This is the case with most of the indie or smaller films she has made. I don’t hold against her that she did the Twilight series because the money and notoriety she made there allows her the freedom to now do whichever films she wants. As an actress she is someone that has to be taken seriously. In other words, don’t make the mistake of holding Twilight against her.
If you want a film that will have you tense throughout but meanders along at a slow pace then this different kind of film is for you.
- New interview with Assayas
- 2016 festival press conference featuring members of the film’s cast and crew, including actor Kristen Stewart
- PLUS: An essay by critic Glenn Kenny