This supernatural suspense, laced with the finest in French fashion, is strangely alluring.
While grieving the death of her twin brother, Maureen (Kristen Stewart) is paying her rent (somewhat begrudgingly) as a personal shopper for a French socialite. She spends her days selecting couture gowns for her employer and her weekends in her brother’s home, where she hopes to make contact with his spirit.
Her brother Lewis, when alive, was a medium—and Maureen believes he will try to contact her. She sits alone in his abandoned house and waits for a sign. It’s dark and creepy and brings a real horror element to this story, which at first appears to be about grief. Contact is made, but it’s unclear whether it’s her brother, something more sinister, or merely the strange warping of her own sense of reality.
Sent to London to collect more gowns, she is contacted by an unknown admirer. Curious as to whether it could be her brother—no matter how farfetched this may seem—she engages them. This mystery texter seems to know a lot about her and where she is. While she comes to suspect they may not be supernatural, their knowledge of her life has her both scared and eager to know more.
It all takes a terrifying turn, and before she knows it, Maureen is caught in a frightening ordeal. With her understanding of reality blurred, she must quickly decide what and who to believe if she’s going to escape.
Kristen Stewart brings her intensity to this intriguing role, and it suits her. While the natural story arc seems more plausible, the supernatural element is different and ultimately leaves the film open to interpretation.
The strange mix of supernatural thriller and fashion drama is an unusual mix, but it holds your attention and keeps your interest. This is the second collaboration between Stewart and the film’s director Olivier Assayas, and it again tells the story of a woman who exists on the outskirts of fame and fortune.
Personal Shopper is experimental and raw, and feels like with a little more development, it could have been even better. It’s a little uneven in patches and I’m not sure it succeeds, but it does offer a different perspective on a life many of us think is enviable, and how grief can send us on an unexpected journey.
If nothing else, see it for the couture Chanel!
Director: Olivier Assayas
Stars: Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz
Runtime: 1hour 45 mins
Release Date: April 13
Reviewer Rating: 3/5
Video via Youtube