Personal Shopper (2016)

Cast includes: Kristen Stewart (Twilight), Lars Eidinger (Clouds of Sils Maria), Sigrid Bouaziz (Think of Me)
Writer/Director: Olivier Assayas (Paris, je t’aime, Clouds of Sils Maria)
Genre: Drama | Mystery | Horror (105 minutes) Partly in French with subtitles


Huffington Post

When Lara brings Maureen to the big old house, she hands her the keys and drives away. “I won’t be staying… too many memories.” Walking through the nearly empty house, every step echoes. Every door seems to have rusty hinges. It’s cold, and there’s no electricity. Maureen finds a chair and settles in for the long night. “Lewis, is that you?” The sound isn’t definitive… nor is the slight mist definitive. “There was a presence,” she tells Lara the next day. “There wasn’t enough pull. It was keeping a distance.” And she can’t possibly know at this time if the presence is benevolent or not. She needs to “find a portal into the spirit world.” But Maureen has shopping to do right now… “something flashy” for her high-profile client with AmFAR events. With her own key, she lets herself into Kyra’s luxurious apartment, puts clothes in the closet and takes care of updating Kyra’s Mac, as instructed. And finally, Maureen goes back to her little apartment, where she talks with her boyfriend on Skype. He wants her to join him in Africa, but she can’t leave Paris yet. “I have to wait… I need to see it to the end.”

Her job as a personal shopper brings her no enjoyment… it lets her “stay in Paris and pay the rent.” She wouldn’t dare try on any of the clothes because it’s one of Kyra’s rules. “I hear she’s a monster.” That’s an understatement! Later, Maureen’s 6-month check up shows the same heart condition that killed Lewis, her twin brother. She’s supposed to avoid physical effort and stress. Not likely… especially working for Kyra. Even Kyra’s boyfriend seems to agree… “She’s a real fucking pain in the ass.” But Maureen has to stay for now… she and her brother made a deal… “Whoever dies first would send the other a sign.” Will she recognize the sign? Maureen is sure she will… “I’m a medium. I’ll know it.”

“There are invisible souls around us.” But why are they there and what are they telling us? Moviegoers may find themselves asking theses very same questions as the story unfolds. Even when the film introduces events that don’t involve invisible souls, it may be hard to figure out how they relate. The mix of real and supernatural does serve to heighten the mystery, and I did want to enjoy this film more than I did. However, there are too many parts that don’t add much but confusion. Personal Shopper has the look and feel of a Hitchcock movie, but the filmmakers may have overestimated our tolerance for enigmatic, perplexing details. Maureen, played with trademark non-expression by Kristin Stewart, is as enigmatic as the story. If you’re a Stewart fan, you’ll probably enjoy her in this film. If not, her performance won’t add much. We get fairly far into the film before we get a clue about where it might be going… a text from “Unknown”… “I know you” and a follow-up text… “And you know me.” Is it a high-tech communication from Lewis’s ghost? Or is it an unwelcome outreach from the here and now?

popcorn rating

2 popped kernels

A twin tries to figure out if her dead brother is sending her a communication… or is she in some kind of danger?

Popcorn Profile

Rated: R (Nudity, Violence)
Audience: Young Adults
Gender Style: Neutral
Distribution: Art House
Mood: Sober
Tempo: Cruises Comfortably
Visual Style: Unvarnished Realism
Nutshell: Mystery, ghosts and violence
Language: True to life

Social Significance: Thought Provoking

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