Kristen Stewart reunites with director Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria) for this artful ghost story about a young woman trying to reconnect with the spirit of her departed brother.
For many, Kristen Stewart's performance in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria was a revelation. It showed a hitherto unexplored dimension that demanded she be taken more seriously as an actor. It also won her the César for Best Supporting Actress — an award that rarely goes to artists from outside of France. In Personal Shopper, which reunites her with perennial Festival favourite Assayas, Stewart (also at this year's Festival in Certain Women) is cast once again an assistant to a highly successful woman. In this case, however, her character's boss is rarely on screen and, in every way, Stewart takes the lead.
Maureen is the personal shopper for a high-powered German model/designer and jet-setter who demands an endless supply of clothes and accessories be procured and delivered to her. But Maureen has just suffered a personal trauma: her beloved twin brother, Lewis, to whom she was intensely attached, has just died due to a congenital heart condition. She is also a medium, and attempts to communicate with Lewis while wandering around their cavernous childhood home in Paris, where he died. Gradually, mysterious things begin to occur.
Ghost films are a storied tradition, and Personal Shopper does no mean job in following in the footsteps of some of the best. Assayas fleshes out the story with highly personal touches that explain the obsessions that haunt and trouble his heroine as she moves through the slick and garish world of her fashionista employer, and the dark, eerie spirit world where her brother is located. Adhering to genre conventions while also playing with them allows Assayas and Stewart to revel in good, old-fashioned cinematic fun.