Personal Shopper, the follow-up to Parisian writer, director and provocateur Olivier Assayas’ Clouds Of Sils Maria again features Kristen Stewart and several cast members from that film, as well as a few similar themes and a continuing sense of sometimes frustrating slowness and inscrutability.
He’s admitted to whipping up the script in an unusually short period of time, and it feels muddled and uncertain at certain points. We’re often left just as bewildered as Stewart.
The withdrawn and sullen Maureen Cartwright (Stewart, of course, who does withdrawn and sullen so well) is an American in Paris who works as a ‘personal shopper’ for a celebrity of some sort named Kyra (Nora von Waldstatten).
This odd gig means that Maureen buys clothes, shoes and jewels for Kyra, and that, of course, means that we have endless scenes of Stewart flitting about haute couture shops purchasing ludicrously expensive threads and knick-knacks, most of which are obviously intended to make the viewer ooh and ah with envious delight.
However, Maureen is also mourning the recent death of her twin brother, and as they were both mediums, she and he had a pact that the first one who died would try to contact the other from beyond, which results in some supernatural-ish sequences that aren’t particularly scary and prove mainly just sad.
There’s still more plot to get through too: Maureen is afraid she’ll succumb to the condition that killed her sibling, which means we’re treated to a rather needless moment where she gets half-naked for a hospital test; her pushy would-be boyfriend Erwin (Anders Danielsen Lie) is at her to leave Paris and shack up with him; and someone mysterious keeps texting her. Is it a ghost or a stalker – or maybe a Twilight fan?
Jokes aside, Stewart is pretty strong here, appearing in every scene, offering a more complex performance than her emotionally deadened exterior in the film might suggest. She brings a bit of heart (if not humour) to what is an unfashionably chilly pic.
Rated MA. Personal Shopper is in cinemas now