Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
New SWITCHCast episode out now! Click to listen to reviews of 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society' and more.x
review, Personal Shopper, Personal, Shopper, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Olivier Assayas, Drama, Mystery, Thriller film rating

PERSONAL SHOPPER

★★

A MINIMALIST MESS

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Jake Watt
9th April 2017

Ever wanted to watch Kristen Stewart fidgeting with her hair while sending text messages? Secretly keen to watch YouTube videos about Victor Hugo on someone else’s iPhone? ‘Personal Shopper’ is the film for you. Craving a thoughtful addition to modern slow-burning haunted house films such as Alejandro Amenábar’s ‘The Others’ or Ti West’s ‘The Innkeepers’? Then look somewhere else. In fact, go and watch those two, they're great films!

As a filmmaker, Olivier Assayas (‘Irma Vep’, ‘Something in the Air’, ‘Carlos’) has never been interested in basic genre-movie standards, and ‘Personal Shopper’ is an almost impossible film to pin down. It is a realist drama about loss and identity, as well as a psychological thriller. It’s also a ghost story, complete with a computer-animated, ectoplasm-vomiting spook straight out of the New York City Public Library in ‘Ghostbusters’.

Maureen (Kristen Stewart, in her second collaboration with Assayas after her Cesar-winning turn in the masterful ‘Clouds of Sils Maria’) is a young American in Paris, a personal shopper and assistant to a German fashionista, Kyra (another Assayas regular, Nora Von Waltstätten). In her free time, she is a psychic medium seeking to connect with her twin brother Lewis’ ghost in a crumbling Parisian country house. Maureen is also a young woman searching for her own identity, with a congenital heart condition triggered by extremes of emotion or exertion. She is haunted, figuratively, and later in the film, literally.

'PERSONAL SHOPPER' TRAILER

Whew! If you couldn't tell by the synopsis, this movie is a combination of many, many different styles, tones, and events. It shifts back, forth, left, right, up, down, northwest, southwest, and any other direction you could possibly think of. ‘Personal Shopper’ is a minimalist, meandering and sporadically gripping mess.

The plotting of the first half hour of the film is directionless. Maureen wanders around a dark house, softly calling to her brother. A floorboard squeaks. We watch Maureen ride her motorcycle from one haute couture designer’s outlet to the next. She isn’t allowed to try on the clothes. There is a supernatural confrontation. Over an excruciatingly long 20-minute sequence, text messages are exchanged between Maureen and what could either be a digital stalker or an angry ghost. We watch Maureen as she watches YouTube... a lot. There's even a late addition murder mystery that unfolds just so there can be more fucking texting... which is then abruptly discarded, dragging the audience back into phantasmagorical territory. The audience’s patience is tested, repeatedly, as the film throws a bunch of ideas against the wall and none of them really stick.

We watch Maureen as she watches YouTube... a lot.

Kristen Stewart is essentially a one-woman show, the only character in the story explored in real depth, and acquits herself admirably. With her slicked-back hair, puffy eyes, pinched features and wan good looks, she projects an unusual sexual energy. There is much wrinkling of the brow and many halting philosophical musings between Maureen and her European friends, with topics ranging from French existentialism to the works of abstract painter Hilma af Klint and French novelist Victor Hugo. Stewart’s naturalistic line readings give her dialogue a rambling, improvisational feel.

Director Assayas makes good use of his roving camera, moving through space and building tension with simple steadycam pans. The camera tracks Maureen, spectre-like, around Lewis’ dilapidated country house and Kyra’s Paris apartment, occasionally drinking in some European scenery. The parts that are most viscerally effective are ironically the most mundane: elongated segments of driving through busy city streets, silent walks through creaky houses, characters holding dogs back from open front yard gates. All moments where we get to see Kristen Stewart's real, actual expressions, before the camera obfuscates their meaning like a cat covering up their litter box.

Ultimately, despite some genuinely good acting from Kristen Stewart, ‘Personal Shopper’ is hamstrung by its own listless pacing, an inability to draw the disparate elements of its plot together in a satisfying way, and a conclusion that leaves the audience seeking explanations for a film full of strange occurrences.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 13/04/2017
RUN TIME: 1h 45m
CAST: Kristen Stewart
Lars Eidinger
WRITER/DIRECTOR: Olivier Assayas
PRODUCER: Charles Gillibert
SCORE: Nicolas Cantin
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
The Jungle Bunch - Let the kids show their true stripes
TRENDINGWIN THE JUNGLE BUNCHLet the kids show their true stripes
Darkest Hour - Gary Oldman is Winston Churchill in this Oscar-winning role
TRENDINGWIN DARKEST HOURGary Oldman is Winston Churchill in this Oscar-winning role
The Florida Project - Filled with childhood wonder
TRENDINGWIN THE FLORIDA PROJECTFilled with childhood wonder
Pitch Perfect 3 - Hitting a high note for the big finale
TRENDINGWIN PITCH PERFECT 3Hitting a high note for the big finale
Last Flag Flying - A moving and heartwarming roadtrip of a lifetime
TRENDINGWIN LAST FLAG FLYINGA moving and heartwarming roadtrip of a lifetime
Gurrumul - A portrait of an important and acclaimed indigenous artist
TRENDINGWIN GURRUMULA portrait of an important and acclaimed indigenous artist
© 2011 - 2018 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Disclaimer | Contact Us