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 been already 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
This was the first film in the 69th edition of the Cannes International Film Festival to be booed by some of the critics. Other critics gave it rave reviews. In spite of the divisive reactions by the international critics, the film was later well-received by the audience at the premiere, who gave a long standing ovation. Olivier Assayas finally won the 'Best Director' award by the 'Official Competition' jury. See more »
When Maureen was texting with 'Unknown', her texts are usually immediately seen and replied to. On her phone, it shows the time of when the text was read. However, some of the times shown are not logical.
There was a scene where her last text was read at 17:46 when she was still on the train. Then she sent a text, got on a scooter, and finally sent another text after she got to Kyra's home from the train station. But the 2 messages were seen in the same minute (17:57).
Right after that, she traded a few texts with 'Unknown' and it seems to have happened in a few minutes but the last text she sent in that scene was read at 19:01, more than 1 hour later from when she got home. See more »
[talking about her deceased brother]
So we made this oath... Whoever died first would send the other a sign.
A sign? From- from the afterlife?
You could call it that; you could call it a million things.
But... how do you know if it's a sign?
I'm a medium. He was- he was a medium. I'll just know it.
Have you... communicated with spirits before?
Um. Lewis thought they were... spirits. I'm- I'm less sure. But yes. Uh, somewhat.
[gets off the couch to smoke]
I mean there are invisible... presences......
[...] See more »
Identity, grief, guilt and vengeful ghosts calling from the living past; there, I just saved you an hour and forty five minutes of Kirsten Stewart fidgeting with her hair and texting like a pubescent Amber Alert in progress. If you really want to get exactly the same experience for a fraction of the cost, bring your best clothes to a laundromat, hit spin and watch YouTube videos about Victor Hugo on your iphone.
Personal Shopper sells itself as a modern ghost story. By day Maureen, (Stewart) our hero, works as a personal shopper, running errands for a famous-because-she's-famous celebrity (von Waldstatten) who simply must have the latest fashion accessories. By night, she's a medium with a talent she continually insists belonged to her belated brother - that talent presumably being, looking like a sleep-walking, emaciated golem. Before her brother died, He promised he would try to make contact with her so she can lay her anxieties about the afterlife to rest. Thus she waits...and waits, and waits some more, slowly absorbing the evening Paris lamplight while riding in her moped.
Now I know that people deal with grief differently, thus I wouldn't expect our demure protagonist to eat an entire container of Chunky Monkey while watching The Aquabats Supershow (2012-Present) (I would). However, I like to think a shared experience of most humans is seeing subtle but ever-present reminders of the deceased everywhere. When I lost a friend years ago, I couldn't glance at a tie-dye shirt without getting the feels.
Maureen on the other hand isn't so much finding reminders of her dead brother as she is searching for signs and coming up empty handed. She either finds, or is in the periphery of a satisfactory conclusion to her story arc literally everywhere she goes. But instead of seeing a ghost and having it vomit ectoplasm as a sign that maybe she should move on, she keeps pushing and pushing until every major event in this thing becomes meaningless. It's a frustrating situation - like following phosphenes around your closed eyelids and never seeming to pin them down to get a good look.
The parts that are most viscerally effective are ironically the most mundane: elongated hand-held segments of driving through busy city streets, silent walks through creaky houses, characters holding dogs back from open front yard gates. All moments where we get to see Maureen's real, actual expressions, before the camera obfuscates their meaning like a cat covering up their litter box. Then of course there are the texts. Long, drawn out sections of the film are expounded via cell phone texts. There's even a late addition murder mystery that unfolds just so their can be more f**king texting! Those grasping at straws are liable to see Personal Shopper's preoccupation with screens and conclude it must mean something. I'm more liable to believe if Assayas were alive in the 18th century he'd be doing performance art with semaphore. That's just the kind of pretentious rake he is.
If I wanted to watch someone stare blankly at a screen all day I would have sat at a park bench and leered creepily at teenagers. At least then there'd be an element of voyeurism; here there's more an element of who gives a damn.
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