Directed by Olivier Assayas
From 17th March 2017
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
I only recently came across Kristen Stewart in Certain Women, who captivated me with her charisma in that film.
I had a similar experience in seeing her in Personal Shopper, a completely different role than in her previous movie, which in some ways indicates her versatility as an actress, even though she is only 26-years-old.
Stewart, as Maureen a personal shopper, or personal assistant to a highly esteemed fashion designer in Paris, is seldom seen off screen and has an entrancing presence throughout in what is ultimately a wayward film.
It covers a number of genres, including horror, a whodunit, an erotic thriller, which results in its ambiguity, which I don’t necessarily dislike but horror stories always leave me less than scared!
Maureen, following the death of her twin brother Lewis, who was a medium, leads a chaotic life, not helped by her intense introspection and acute loneliness.
As with the subject matters involved – ghostly apparitions, telekinesis, creaking sounds in an almost derelict house once occupied by Lewis – it has an disembodied feel to it, which adds to the atmosphere overall.
Maureen’s overwhelming obsession is trying to contact her dead brother. Like him she practiced in the art of being a medium and before he passed on they made an oath that if one died, the deceased would attempt to get in contact with the other.
What is interesting is that you are never shown an image of what Lewis looked like, which adds weight to the isolation or detachment suffered by Maureen from what he was.
A peculiar aspect of the film was the twenty minutes or so sequence of the toing and froing of texts between Maureen and an unknown sender of messages.
It seemed like a ghost of the past in regard to social media communications, but still relevant in this age of smartphones and iphones.
It gave the impression that the sender of texts to Maureen was almost within her physical presence, adding gravitas to the otherworldly feel of the film.