WARNING: MILD SPOILERS
This film is available on Netflix
Personal Shopper is bit of a strange film. I’m not able to classify it and perhaps that is what director Olivier Assayas wants. A lot of the film is about wanting to be someone else but it is also about seeking closure. Now, the second part is about the death of a loved one and the mashup of these two elements makes this a unique film. Assayas is able to bring both these elements together and weave them seamlessly.
The best part of Personal Shopper is Kristen Stewart who gives a remarkably nuanced performance. One of the best stretches of the film is just her texting with an unknown number. This part is proof of how good an actor she is. The camera is on her for a long time but we don’t feel bored for a second. This is due to the way she internalizes the conflict she’s facing. None of us would really like to engage in a text conversation with an unknown entity. So, it is wonderful to see the way her expression evolves from curiosity, frustration, fear and eventually leads to a connection.
If there was one gripe I had with Personal Shopper, it was that I was not as engaged as I thought I would be. With the initial encounter with the spirit, I thought we would be focusing more on atmospheric terror but Assayas decides to take a different route. And just about when you start thinking that the spirit is a MacGuffin, he brings it back. A lot of your feelings toward this film will depend on your opinion of Kristen Stewart. Now, I can just look at her talking and be captivated so I’m probably a bit biased here.
But when Personal Shopper focuses on the element of closure, that’s when it hits the strongest. Dealing with the loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things anyone has to go through. As someone who lost a family member quite recently, I could really connect with what Kristen Stewart was feeling. Though this is not a film that everyone might like, it is worth watching just for Stewart’s amazing performance.
Until next time, bye.