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"Personal Shopper" Movie Review

Updated on December 17, 2021
Alec Zander profile image

Nathan is a film critic and aspiring author with a true passion for the film industry who hopes his writings will help launch his career.

Personal Shopper had a lot going for it. The story started out well, the directing is fantastic, and the lack of a major score made the film feel more real. That being said, the film was plagued with the burden of misconception. The trailers suggested it would be tense, thrilling, and terrifying. What it actually is is a drama/mystery that could have been more successful had the advertising been honest.

The film centers around Maureen, played by Kristen Stewart, who is a personal shopper to a very high-profile woman. That's not the only reason she's in Paris, however. Her twin brother had died in London and she was there to keep her promise to him. They had promised each other that when one died, he or she would make contact with whichever one was still alive.

While the film strayed from the seemingly central paranormal plot, it did bring up interesting questions such as: Who are you really, Are you scared, and What are you really scared of? These are interesting concepts because throughout the film we see that normal everyday life can be far scarier than any ghost you could see. That's where the film soars. It tackles the beauty and ugliness of the inner struggle that we all face.

The acting was pretty well-done. Kristen seemed a bit distracted in places and in others she was at the top of her game. I'm not sure if that's what the director wanted, to show she had a lot on her mind and one thing was adding to the next, or if maybe Kristen just had something personal going on at the time. Either way, it worked in the film's favor.

I do have to compliment the directing. Olivier Assayas has an unique way of telling this story and, to me, unique is good. Unique means different and different means that it's not the usual style we see in every day filmmaking. Assayas made sure that the focus was on what was in each scene, but then surprise you with something else happening on the sidelines that may be important later. His directing kept you engaged and wanting to continue watching.

In conclusion, I am having a very hard time rating this film. It had its flaws, such as why even bring a paranormal subplot into the film if you're going to ignore it for the most part? Then again, the film had its high points, which showed the human side of fear and desire both. Balancing the two out overall didn't take away from the film's extraordinary positives, so I rate Personal Shopper a total of 3.5 out of 4.

© 2017 Nathan Jasper


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