Hello Everyone, Janet W. here…
Once again, Olivier Assayas has left another audience scratching its head with Personal Shopper. Maureen Cartwright (Kristen Stewart), personal shopper to Kyra (Nora von Waldstätten), a notorious model, embarks on a multi-faceted journey within and reemergence into life since the loss of her twin brother, Lewis.
Stewart is not one of my favorite actors, but that wasn’t always the case. Despite many despairing opinions, I truly enjoyed the Twilight series and Stewart’s performance as Bella Swan. It wasn’t until Snow White and the Huntsman that I realized that she wasn’t really a good actor. She was simply herself in every role she played. The same holds true in Personal Shopper. No matter the circumstances, Stewart keeps a bored, mildly irritated look on her face. Also, Maureen unfortunately suffers from the same malady that claimed the life of her twin. She is instructed to avoid stress, but she drives a moped through bustling Paris, searches for a ghost, and works for an absentee narcissist. Does this make sense to anyone? The remainder of the cast is unknown to me and their performances were ok, but nothing spectacular.
Clearly the cinematographer was in love with Stewart, because I must have seen every crevice of her body (clothed and naked) from multiple angles and varying close-ups. Particularly in the beginning, the pace was far too slow to maintain the viewer’s interest during a sequence that could have been much better. Also, the cold silence of the scene got old, too. Could have used some eerie musical score or something. Sometimes, the use of shadow was good, but then the coverage became excessive. The same can be said about use of elongated fade to black transitions. Now, I’m a lover of foreign languages, but the volumes were so bad that even if I was fluent in French, not much was comprehensible.
Overall, I found Personal Shopper spastic, non-suspenseful, and lacking appeal. Overloading the plot structure with too many themes and plot points is a guaranteed recipe for losing the attention and comprehension of the audience. Personal Shopper is schizophrenic in its composition. Is it a ghost thriller, murder mystery, or a drama about moving past trauma? As the lights came up in the theater, over and over I heard people questioning, “What did that mean?” or “Huh?” The best thing I can say is that close to the end we finally get a decent representation of paranormal activity.
NEEDED SOME FINE TUNING!!
Janet L. White
Your friendly straightforward neighborhood critic