Kristen Stewart is the medium, in more ways than one, for this sophisticated genre exploration from director Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria, NYFF 2014). As a fashion assistant whose twin brother has died, leaving her bereft and longing for messages from the other side, Stewart is fragile and enigmatic—and nearly always on-screen. From an opening sequence in a haunted house with an intricately constructed soundtrack to a high-tension, cat-and-mouse game on a trip from Paris to London and back set entirely to text messaging,Personal Shopper brings the psychological and supernatural thriller into the digital age. An IFC Films release.
After seeing Stewart and Assayas team up on the NYFF52 film Clouds of Sils Maria, there was doubt that we were in for a unique treat in Personal Shopper. Some might still be skeptical of Stewart’s work if they’ve only been exposed to The Twilight franchise. She admits that it most definitely gave her the option to choose her work. Her indie film roles are nothing short of impressive. Clouds allowed her to be the first American actress to win France’s most prominent Cesar award. Stewart plays Maureen, dealing or not dealing with the death of her twin brother, she floats through life by attending to a spoiled supermodel’s fashion needs all while suspecting her brother is trying to contact her from the beyond. Caught between her own sanity and a murder mystery, Stewart bares all in an emotionally wrought and frightening tale that makes us ponder our own beliefs and life choices. With some of the world’s most beautiful fashion as eye candy, Paris and London as our backgrounds, and the trust Assayas has with his leading lady, I was constantly on edge and intrigued. The pace is great and the use of texting as a major plot point brings technology to the forefront in more than one way. Assasya’ long lingering shots, he admitted in the press conference following the screening, were half by choice and half due to the performance Stewart was giving at any moment in time. Their relationship is very clear as you watch. She is in almost every frame. that is a lot to carry as a young actress, but she 100% owns this film. I was able to ask both Assayas and Stewart if they believed in the paranormal and their answers were perfection. you can watch the footage below. If eerie movies are your thing, then this is most likely one you’re enjoy. If you want to see a gorgeously shot film with a stellar leading lady, this too fits the bill. If you’re open minded about things that are considered other worldly, if nothing else, Personal Shopper begs the question, “Is death the end?”
Press Conference with Olivier Assayas and Kristen Stewart. (I got the final question. Lucky Me.)
Personal Shopper will be in theaters March of 2017 from IFC Films.