- Personal Shopper review by Alphaville
Few directors are as inept with both actors and camera as Oliver Assayas. See my review of his Les Destinees Sentimentales. Personal Shopper is almost as bad as that and his other borefest Clouds of Sils Maria. This attempt even won the director’s prize at Cannes, which is an affront to cinema and surely a Gallic joke.
Right from the long opening scenes of Kristen Stewart wandering silently around an empty house you know you’re in for a long haul. Another long tedious section has her conducting a conversation by that most cinematic of devices: text messaging. Nothing of note occurs. Kristen does some shopping and waits for a sign from her dead brother. There’s a final static 3 minute shot. The End.
The acting, as in all Assayas’ films, has no life. Kinder critics call it subdued or understated. It’s as though a dead hand has been placed over all emotion. Assayas is simply in the wrong profession. Somebody please stop him attracting finance and giving arthouse cinema a bad name.
4 out of 5 members found this review helpful.
Almost irredeemably bad.
- Personal Shopper review by MN
I didn't get on with Clouds of Sils Maria but thought i'd give this a go. The film basically has two stories - maureen's life as a personal shopper for some kind of fashionista that we never hear much about, and maureen's other life as a self-styled medium trying to make contact with her deceased brother. Almost nothing is done to tie these two elements of the film together, and neither are explored in any depth. The dialogue is clumsy, there are a few instances of CGI ghosts which are laughably bad, Kristen Stewart's turn as the lead is never entirely convincing, and the less said about the final scene, the better.
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful.
Spoilers follow ...
- Personal Shopper review by NP
Scruffy, intense Maureen (Kristen Stewart) is personal shopper to high-profile celebrity Kyra (Nora von Waldstätten). She wanders unconcernedly through magnificent Parisian and European streets, taking long journeys to spacious shops that sell ridiculously over-priced clothes. Occasionally she feels she is visited by the spirit of her dead twin brother Lewis, who died from a heart defect she also suffers from. This doesn’t dissuade her from smoking though!
She spends a lot of her time alone in Lewis’s former massive, shambling house which proves the perfect place for a haunting. Only two small problems – firstly, it begins to dawn on her that this un-benign spirit might not be her brother. Secondly, the CGI used to show us the apparition, although subtle, is a bit … CGI. Computer cartoon. This is surprising as other, much more subtle effects are expertly handled later on.
The acting is suitably detached. All hesitant and stuttering, awkward and halting, with characters talking over each other. This seems to be an artistic decision, Director Olivier Assayas apparently wanting the demonstrate Maureen’s sense of stylish isolation in this way: it does make some of the dialogue difficult to make out.
After a series of text messages from a stranger, who Maureen believes is her brother, she begins tentatively to break the rules of her employment and wear some of the garments she has procured for Kyra. Clonking around the spacious apartment in haute couture and high heels feels (and looks) alien to Maureen.
It’s difficult to know where this is all heading.
And suddenly, returning to Kyra’s flat after more personal shopping and finding her employer gruesomely murdered, things instantly become very frightening. The addition of strange violent banging sounds somewhere inside don’t help ease Maureen’s nerves, and shortly she is being interrogated by the police. What happens isn’t clear, but it seems to me that Lewis IS the mysterious texter: he appears to help her trap the real killer, Kyra’s former boyfriend Ingo (Lars Eidinger).
Now free, Maureen goes to visit boyfriend Gary (Ty Olwen) in the mountains. Once there, she is again confronted by the ghostly spirit who communicates with her.
‘Personal Shopper’ is a film designed to attract extreme views: you’ll either love it or hate it. I loved it, but I can sympathise with those who complain about drawn-out scenes watching Kirsten Stewart texting. There is a lot of that, but I had no problem with it. As much as anything, I enjoyed the vast, panoramic shots of various cities and locations; there was a definite comparison between Maureen’s self-contained world and the hugeness of everything outside it.
It’s a long ‘un: 105 minutes - and it moves very slowly. I have a love for this approach to horror films anyway, and so would strongly recommend it. You could get gloriously lost in Maureen’s strange world, but you have to give it a chance.
3 out of 3 members found this review helpful.