SFF 2016 Review: Personal Shopper

Sydney Film Festival: Personal Shopper

Personal Shopper posterAt times a tense thriller, but this ghost story has too many ideas going on at once to be effective.

There’s a lot to unpack in PERSONAL SHOPPER. Too much in fact. Indeed, the winner of the Best Director award at this year’s Cannes International Film Festival is difficult to even categorise. Maureen (Kristen Stewart) works in Paris as a personal shopper for a celebrity. She’s also a medium trying to communicate with the spirit of her recently departed twin brother. If the concepts seem like an odd mix, they do on screen as well, lurching between the supernatural and Olivier Assayas’ penchant for the artwork of Hilma af Klint. When the film takes a sharp turn into something more terrestrially sinister, Stewart – returning for another collaboration with Assayas following Clouds of Sils Maria – takes on the role of the hapless victim. It then spirals into more standard thriller fare, with any tension dissipated by what feels like hours of text messages being exchanged between Maureen and a mystery third party. After floating into a listless third act, PERSONAL SHOPPER ultimately doesn’t have the courage of its own convictions, with a head-smacking ending that is far too clever-clever for its own good.

2016 | France | DIR: Olivier Assayas | WRITERS: Olivier Assayas, Christelle Meaux | CAST: Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz | DISTRIBUTOR: Rialto Distribution (AUS) | RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes | RATING: ★★½ (5/10)