MOVIE REVIEW: Personal Shopper

Kristen Stewart of the Twilight movies stars in this drama.  Stewart plays Maureen, who works for an over privileged rich woman, who just doesn’t have the time to shop for herself.  Maureen has to go to all the top designers in Paris and London to make sure that her boss Kyra has everything that she wants.  At the same time Maureen is also dealing with the loss of her twin brother, dead from a heart attack caused by the same genetic condition that she has.  Also Maureen, just like her Brother is a Medium, she wants to communicate with him in the afterlife, in the house that he once owned and is about to be sold by his partner.

I’ll be honest here and admit my dislike of Kristen Stewart in the sparkly Vampire films, and a few other roles that she’s done through the years following those, but here she seems to take her performance to another level.  For once dear friends my biggest problem with a Kristen Stewart film isn’t her, or the so-called Vampires/Werewolves of the film that she is in.  The biggest problem with this film is that it doesn’t seem to know what the real story is that it wants to tell.

The first story and what I think the main story wants to be is a classic ghost story.  A twin trying to contact her brother in the old house that he loved so much, so that the new owners of the house could feel more comfortable knowing that the spirit of the former owner was going to be good with them.  That’s a good ghost story to tell.  It’s simple and done right it could be very effective and entertaining.  Here though it’s clunky and there is no clear focus or willingness to carry through the commitment that it takes to do so.  I’ll give some credit in that we’re not treated to the usual door movements and tapping, well not that much anyway, and when they show a ghost it’s done in a unique way.  It bothers me though that we swing away from this part of the film too often just to have another moody shot of the main star. 

The next story of the Personal Shopper part, a young girl in Paris working for a horrid fashion Icon with more money than sense, well that could have been an entertaining story in its own right.  Once again it’s not explored enough.  The relationship between the two is strained and we know that because its told to us.  The film hints that the fashion world would like Maureen to be in the clothes worn by her boss more than the other way around, but nothing happens.

The most frustrating part of the film is the mysterious text messages that Maureen gets, I banged my head off the seat in the cinema after five minutes passed of these messages, it just killed the film off for me.  There had to have been some better way of doing this film without this back and forth between Maureen and what amounts to someone stalking her and her enjoying it.  It’s hinted that this is a supernatural force but nothing comes from it.  There is even a violent murder that you don’t see coming and this part of the film is squandered for more shots of the ill-looking Stewart being moody.

The whole film is a case of wasted chances to make something memorable for the right reasons, I will remember this film, like I remember the two car crashes that destroyed my back, without a smile and without fondness.  For that to happen to a ghost story film really annoys me, I love ghost story films, they don’t have to be scary, they don’t have to have a monster under the bed, they just have to point out that the veil between worlds is thinner than we ever imagined.  Here the only thing that is pointed out is that you can get any film made just as long as you have a big name attached.

Director: Olivier Assayas
Writers: Olivier Assayas (dialogue), Olivier Assayas (screenplay)
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz

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