Personal Shopper

**

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Personal Shopper
"Stewart valiantly tries to soldier through but cannot make her character spring to life."

It’s rather odd or even perverse for Kristen Stewart to take on such a similar role in her second film for Olivier Assayas as she played (rather well) in her first outing with him as Juliette Binoche’s assistant in Sils Maria.

Here she runs around in Paris and London after Kyra (Nora von Waldstatten), a celebrity fashionista who seems to spend most of the time doing what she does elsewhere, leaving Maureen to her own devices.

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The film opens with her visiting a spooky house in the country and being confronted with what she believes is the ghost of her late brother (who had a congenital condition that also could affect her).

She becomes obsessed with the notion, encouraged by her brother’s girlfriend (Sigrid Bouaziz) and starts having otherworldly contact by text. This gives Assayas the terrific wheeze of displaying text messages endlessly on full screen - hardly the most visually exciting of devices.

There is a bit of intrigue when she starts to believe that the texter could be close at hand but Assayas blows any tension by making it go on so long that interest fades. Stewart spends much of the film on her own, feeding her imagination by watching videos about abstract painter Hilma af Klimt and French novelist Victor Hugo, who both communed with the spiritual world. Meanwhile she avoids taking calls from a far-flung boyfriend, heightening her sense of isolation.

Stewart valiantly tries to soldier through but cannot make her character spring to life (not really her fault - more the dialogue she has to utter) so by the time matters reach a conclusion I’m not sure most of us would really care.

It is partly to do with the fact that Assayas provides very little background about Maureen or her twin brother Lewis and what they were doing in France in the first place. Personal Shopper promises much but fails to deliver.

Reviewed on: 19 May 2016
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Personal Shopper packshot
Ghost story set against the backdrop of the Paris fashion world.


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