Personal Shopper (2017)

Viewed March 10th

A personal shopper-slash-psychic-medium travels from Paris to London to Oman buying expensive clothes for her celebrity employer and outrunning a stalker who may or may not be her recently deceased twin brother.

Personal Shopper is about the desire to reach other worlds, to inhabit someone else's life. It explores this theme through the cult of celebrity, through contact with the supernatural, and through the simulated, disembodied quality of contemporary communication. But that's also not what it's about at all. It's about, well, what is it about? To some extent it's about that feeling of being unable to put your finger on its about-ness and then about how that feeling of uncertainty and ambiguity in life create the desire to crossover to something else, whatever that might be. It bops the viewer from one milieu to the next to the next, all of them fairly embedded in an accessible genre but when taken together become either a mess or a work of art, but not an accessible genre film. Luckily, Personal Shopper isn't a mess; it is art, but art in a way that feels new and alien. It wouldn't work if it didn't create an indelible world around all this stuff. Kristin Stewart is magnetic and Assayas is effortlessly talented at creating suspense & guiding the eye from moment to moment, scene to scene, mood to mood. It never allows you to know what it's game is, but just in the right way that that doesn't become annoying; it keeps you hooked in and hooked in, right on the razor, each unnerving buzz of her ongoing text messages commingling with the house-shaking boom of the spirit world communicating with our world. The whole time I'm thinking what is this, what am I feeling? And for the longest time assumed it was about the character wanting to cross over to someone else's world, but when Kristin Stewart looks us in the eye at the end, it all makes sense: everything was about our wanting to crossover to her world. Or was it?