films seen
average score
Alive and kicking


Personal Shopper

2016 / 107m - France
Drama, Horror
Personal Shopper poster

This was a rather odd mix of arthouse drama and horror. On paper it sounded pretty interesting, in reality, both approaches are mostly working against each other. The horror came out fake and out of place, while the drama felt silly and fleeting. I've yet to be convinced by Assayas' work.

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Maureen is in Paris, waiting for the ghost of her twin brother to manifest itself to her. To pay for her stay there, she starts working as a personal shopper for a famous star. She hates her job, but it's the only thing that covers the costs. Almost ready to give up, she finally receives a sign that her brother might be ready to communicate with her.

Stewart gives a solid performance, but that's about it. The cinematography is bland, the score is pretty boring and the genre mix is absolutely terrible. It's a bit of a trainwreck, but I'll admit that's what kept me interested. Sadly, the payoff never came, but at least it's not a derivative film.

Clouds of Sils Maria

2014 / 124m - France
Clouds of Sils Maria poster

Another film that tries to blur the lines between reality and fiction. Only Assayas doesn't bet on atmosphere (and when he does, he fails horribly), instead he turns Sils Maria in a very dialogue-heavy drama that drags itself through the motions, as if Assayas himself got bored by his own idea halfway through.

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Stewart is pretty decent, but Moretz appears to be ill at ease and Binoche looks like she didn't even want to be there. With only one of three leads trying to have a little fun, the dialogues quickly turn sour and the film starts to drag itself along. It also doesn't help that I've grown a little tired of films about actors getting lost in their work, it's all a bit too self-indulgent.

At least the setting (the Alps) is quite nice, with some decent landscape photography. Even there Assayas underperforms though, a shoddy nighttime ride being a painful reminder that scenes like these are crucial to ground a film like Sils Maria. When they don't end up working, a lot of the appeal is lost. It's all a bit underwhelming and expected, I'd hoped for more.