Personal Shopper (2016), Dir. Olivier Assayas

Personal Shopper (2016), Dir. Olivier Assayas
A sign? From the afterlife?...So how to you know if it’s a sign?
— Ingo, Personal Shopper (2016)

Stars: Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz, Ty Olwin, Nora von Waldstätten.
Director: Olivier Assayas
Screenplay: Olivier Assayas

The first five minutes feel like a normal, boring ghost horror movie about a woman alone in an old dark house away from civilisation as she attempts to converse with a ghost. So yes the first five minutes are boring, I am glad they got all the boring out in the beginning because after the first scene it is anything but.

Maureen (Kristen Stewart) is living in Paris and is waiting for a sign from her dead twin brother Lewis to confirm if there is life after death. She and her brother are both mediums however his connection has always been stronger. In order for Maureen to still be able to live in Paris as she waits for the sign she works as a personal shopper for Kyra (Nora von Waldstätten) a high profile celebrity. 

There is way more to this film so instead of retreading the plot I will delve into why this film made such an impact for me. For starters, K Stew. My goodness this woman is amazing and she is only getting better in her craft; she really is one of the best performers from this generation of actors. The film relies on her to sell its premise, the premise of a grounded reality that happens to involve connecting with spirits. The camera focuses so acutely to the micro expressions in her performance; she is enchanting on the screen, she embodies the whole feeling of this film in and through her being. 

There is an entire segment of the film that is just an iMessage conversation. An entire segment. If I were bored in the first five minutes how could I be expected to withstand and entire segment of typing, waiting for the replyee to finish typing, the sound of the typing—yes she hasn't gotten around to turning that sound off—, the annoying sound of a phone vibrating, and nothing else but an iMessage screen taking up the entire frame. I should have been bored but I was instead enthralled.

This is the first film that has accurately portrayed how the everyday person uses their phones in their daily life. You don't the history of an artist?; look it up on YouTube, don't want to see someone replying to a text you just sent; place your phone onto flight mode, have to get off the train with all of your bags so you have no hands free for your phone; place it in your back pocket. This film unapologetically allows technology to be incorporated into its film by allowing its protagonist to use it as we all would. This exemplifies how anyone of us would handle these scenarios in our everyday lives and this just impressed the hell out of me. So yes a random thing to praise a film on but director Assayas does this so effectively why would you not?

I'm gonna say this film is deeper than the sums of its parts, there are times where it is going to ask you if you actually believe what has been presented to you. Let it ask you that question because it just leads to hours worth of discussions and I have no answers. Stewart is a godsend, I am addicted to seeing where her career will lead her; she leads and I am going to follow.