A personal shopper in Paris refuses to leave the city until she makes contact with her twin brother who previously died there. Her life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text message.
It's already been three months since the sudden death of her 27-year-old twin brother Lewis from a congenital malformation of the heart, and Maureen, a young fashionista, assistant to a celebrity woman and a capable medium, still hasn't made any contact with him. Spending her time between high profile fashion establishments and the abandoned Lewis' house in Paris, Maureen is silently battling with the gut-wrenching grief and sorrow, while at the same time, looking for a sign from her deceased brother after an oath taken between the twins. Aloof, disoriented and still mourning, wraithlike Maureen attuned to the ethereal realm, is inevitably caught between this world and the spiritual, always looking for portals and a sign that would prove her brother right, however, in vain. Unexpectedly, as the days pass by swiftly and the random apparitions become more frequent, Maureen will start to receive strange text messages from an unknown sender who seems to know a lot about her, but in the ...Written by
When Maureen is texting, her texts are frequently answered immediately, usually in less than one second. There is no time lag built in for the other person to read her text and type in their response. This goof is probably intentional. Building in a time lag for the other person to read/respond to her messages would considerably slow down the pacing of the movie, so responses to her texts were probably prepared in advance and sent immediately. See more »
You know how they say the dead watch over the living? I've thought about that a lot. Not just because Lewis was a medium. I don't know what that means. For me, he was someone deeply intuitive of others. He, uh... understood things that went unspoken. He did. Maybe because he knew he was going to die. I mean, I felt that he saw things which I didn't. Maybe you do too. He thought you had the same gifts...
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Well, Personal Shopper is certainly a weird movie.
The film is the second collaboration between Kristen Stewart and director Olivier Assayas, and I should mention that I haven't actually seen the first. In fact, as I realised earlier and with surprise, I actually haven't ever seen Stewart in any film – unless you count her very brief appearance at the end of the mostly-forgotten 2008 action flick Jumper. As my knowledge of her beyond that only really extended to her performances in five Twilight films and a gritty, live-action adaptation of Snow White (again, none of which I've watched), I wasn't really expecting much from her.
She is excellent in this film. She manages to be both mysterious and relatable, both sexy and unlikeable, both stoic and vulnerable, and all the while channelling a cynical personality that belies a deep, hidden, desperate hope. It's an extremely complex performance, and she pulls it off tremendously. The rest of the cast is also strong, but Stewart rightly holds the spotlight.
The story is... well, it's uneventful, for the most part, especially at the beginning. In fact, and unfortunately, the first twenty-five minutes is so incredibly boring that I nearly fell asleep in my seat. Granted, it was an exceptionally comfortable seat, but I'd just finished my second double-shot latte. The beginning of the film consists of Stewart walking around her dead brother's old house during the day, and then again at night. The lack of music was soothing, the creaks of the old wood lulling.
I was startled out of my almost-sleep by a sudden tonal shift in the film. Now we were in a horror movie, complete with frightening visuals and multiple jump-scares. This carried on for around another fifteen minutes, after which the film became a psychological thriller, where it remained for the remainder of the movie (after a brief venture into erotic-thriller territory). I have to say, though, it kind of works, and I had no problem with the tone bouncing all over the place; however, this does not fix the incomprehensibly dull first twenty-five minutes.
The rest of the film tells the story of a (you guessed it!) personal shopper who is lingering in Paris, where her brother died, on the off- chance that he might try to contact her from beyond the grave. She already knows some people, and meets some new players as the story progresses, the most notable of whom is an unknown person who forms a relationship with her via text. As she attempts to deduce her new pen- pal's identity, she goes about her day-to-day life, all the while hoping for a sign from her late twin.
The technical elements are solid, if a little unambitious, and the movie sounds great across the board. The cinematography and general direction are wonderful. The plot is where I started to get really confused, particularly in the final act, and I really don't know what happened at the end. I have my theory, but I just can't reconcile it against the facts and events presented earlier. Is the ending a plot- hole? Is it intentionally nonsensical? Did it simply go over my head? It could be any of these things, but satisfying it most certainly was not.
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