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Review: "Personal Shopper" (2017)


Title: Personal Shopper (2017)

Genre: The genre of this film is hard to pin down. IMDB classifies it as a drama, mystery, and thriller. However, I would more specifically classify it as a ghost story melodrama.

Director: Olivier Assayas

Stars (Primary Actors): Kristen Stewart

Bias: Just to get this out of the way, I may be the biggest Kristen Stewart fan in existence. I make it a point to see every film she is involved in. But, with this in mind, I definitely do not like every film she has done. Twilight was a part of my childhood, so I like it mostly for the nostalgia factor. I personally feel that she is one of the best actresses working today and has finally gotten over being seen only as Bella. I also obsess over fashion and designers. So seeing my favorite actress wearing Tom Ford and Chanel was basically a movie made for my exact taste.

Grade: A

In a Nutshell: Maureen (Kristen Stewart), a medium, is a personal shopper who hates her job but feels she cannot leave Paris until she makes supernatural contact with her twin brother who died there recently. She begins texting with an unknown number which gets her deep into something she never asked to be a part of.

The Critique: While Assayas’ first film with Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria, 2014) featured her in a supporting role to the lead Juliette Binoche, her acting ability was the true standout. He has her playing basically the same role in this movie, but with a completely different storyline. It does not take much to imagine Valentine, sans glasses, scooting around Paris on a moped. Some may dislike this casting, saying the role is too close to Stewart as a person and therefore not a challenge, but I think Assayas has found the perfect niche for his current muse and plans to utilize her naturalistic style for many films to come.

Although I’m not well versed in Assayas’ other films, something that I’ve noticed in the two I have seen are the odd transitions from scene to scene. Sometimes it would just fade out mid-sentence, although it didn’t seem like this was done to be deliberately off-putting to the viewer. It felt like when a movie plays on television and it has to be chopped up for commercials, cutting out at the worst times. I am not sure if this is a reoccurring pattern throughout his filmography, or just something with Personal Shopper and Clouds of Sils Maria, but it is almost unbearable at parts.

Shout-Outs: The two main shout outs have to go to the previously mentioned, amazing acting of Stewart and the poignant story by Assayas. He managed to avoid so many clichés of ghost stories which previously seemed impossible to leave out.

Also, I cannot forget to give some love to the set design, stylist, and location manager on the crew. It is one of the most visually beautiful films in recent memory. Seeing it in the theater was a true joy.

To Go, Rent or Netflix: If this film seems even a little bit interesting to you, I urge you to see it. I am aware that not everyone lives, breathes, and dies for Kristen Stewart and her acting in the same way I do. So wait until it comes out on Netflix or On Demand. If you can’t make up your mind about whether or not you want to see it, check out Assayas and Stewart’s first collaboration, Clouds of Sils Maria, just to see if you enjoy their style.

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