Top 100 Films Of The 2010’s – #49 – Personal Shopper (2016)


RELEASED: 17th March 2017

DIRECTOR: Olivier Assayas

CAST: Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Nora Waldstätten, Anders Danielsen Lie, Sigrid Bouaziz, Ty Olwin, Audrey Bonnet, Pascal Rambert, Hammou Graia and Benjamin Biolay

BUDGET: $1m

BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $2.8m

AWARDS: None

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.

 

Personal Shopper focuses on Maureen Cartwright, a high-fashion personal shopper to the stars who is also a spiritual medium. Grieving the recent death of her twin brother, she haunts his Paris home, determined to make contact with him.

 

Released in 2016, Personal Shopper is a supernatural psychological thriller from Olivier Assayas that has us following Maureen Cartwright, whose a personal shopper for a demanding supermodel in Paris. Maureen also happens to be a spiritual medium and has decided to remain in Paris until she makes contact with her twin brother Lewis, who recently died of a heart condition that Maureen also has. While Maureen waits for a sign from the other side, she begins to receive text messages from an unknown number that  leads to a road of events that complicate her life in Paris. I really enjoyed Assayas’s Personal Shopper as it not only has the interesting angle of what life would be like to be the personal shopper to celebrities, or the mystery about who is behind the text messages Maureen is corresponding with, but with how the film deals with being haunted by the death of a loved one and searching for meaning once they’re gone. The first time we see Maureen, she’s trying to contact a spirit that may be residing within an old house, hoping that it’s her deceased twin brother, who used to live there. We learn later on in a conversation with her bosses lover that she remains in limbo in Paris as her twin brother promised her that if he passed away first, he would try to send a message from the other side to let her know that he was at peace and that the afterlife exists. It’s an interesting study of her character, as she appears to be more of a ghost herself, even though she’s a personal shopper for a spoilt supermodel, when she’s within distance of Kyra, she might as well not exist. I enjoyed the direction from Olivier Assayas, in particular to how he builds suspense in the paranormal sequences, especially in Lewis’s old house and in the films final act. The cinematography from Yorick Le Saux is also really good too, particularly in how natural light is captured in the night scenes from the old house to Kyra’s apartment. Kristen Stewart is terrific as Maureen, conveying a pure and organic performance of someone going through grief whilst also yearning for a sign from the other side. Personal Shopper may have its tonal shifts and may not be emotionally satisfying for some, but it’s definitely a worthwhile film viewing experience.

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: In the final act, Maureen has a conversation with Lara’s new boyfriend Erwin, and they talk about Lewis and whether his spirit is still present. It’s a nice slow-build scene with a great payoff.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: “You know how they say the dead watch over the living? I’ve thought about that a lot. Not just because Lewis was a medium. I don’t know what that means. For me, he was someone deeply intuitive of others. He, uh… understood things that went unspoken. He did. Maybe because he knew he was going to die. I mean, I felt that he saw things which I didn’t. Maybe you do too. He thought you had the same gifts…” – Erwin

DID YOU KNOW: 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.

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