Personal Shopper

Director Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria gave Kristen Stewart a much needed career twist. Here, he reunites the actress with elliptical art-house abandon as she plays Maureen, a displaced American who comes to Paris to contact her recently deceased brother’s spirit. He died from a heart ailment that she also suffers from but this supernatural mystery derails into the Parisian fashion world when she takes a job working for a high profile model who is too famous to be seen in public doing the daily routine of purchasing expensive clothing and jewelry. Riding around the city on her Vespa, Maureen starts receiving text messages from an unknown entity who may or may not be her brother’s spirit challenging her to be someone else, somewhere else, tempting her to violate her contract with Kyra, her employer. There are disjointed scenes that are completely silent where she undergoes nude clothes fittings, a spirit manifests and vomits ectoplasm and glassware shatters after being manipulated by unseen forces, but throughout Stewart masters the forlorn commitment to both profession and preponderance, proving herself as one of the most versatile young actresses around. As with Clouds of Sils Maria, nothing concrete gives you satisfactory answers but the object is to breech the peripheral story and accept her final question.