(director/writer: Olivier Assayas; screenwriter: Christelle Meaux; cinematographer: Yorick Le Saux; editor: Marion Monnier; cast:  Kristen Stewart (Maureen), Lars Eidinger (Ingo), Sigrid Bouaziz (Lara), Anders Danielsen Lie (Erwin), Ty Olwin (Gary), Hammou Graïa (Detective), Nora Von Waldstätten (Kyra), Benjamin Biolay (Victor Hugo), Audrey Bonnet (Cassandre), Pascal Rambert (Jerome); Runtime: 105; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Charles Gillibert; Sirina Film; 2016-France-in French with English subtitles)

“Even the gritty performance by Kristen Stewart can’t elevate what just isn’t there.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

French filmmaker Olivier Assayas (“Summer Hours”/”Irma Vep”) is co-writer with Christelle Meaux of this underwhelming but elegantly told ghost story. Even the gritty performance by Kristen Stewart can’t elevate what just isn’t there. Stewart, who is on the screen throughout, re-teams with Assayas following their successful “Clouds of Sils Maria”.

Maureen Cartwright (Kristen Stewart) is a young American in Paris who works as a personal shopper (buying fashionable clothes and jewelry) for a conceited supermodel celebrity (Nora von Waldstatten). Like her recently deceased twin brother medium Lewis, dying three months ago of a heart condition that she’s also plagued by and is also a medium. Before his demise, the twins made a pact that the one who dies first tries to reach the other from the other side.

Maureen does her errands in Paris by zipping around the heavy traffic in a motorbike. As part of her job she takes the train to London to bring back dresses and jewelry for her client. While there she receives a series of strange texts that could be a prank or maybe her brother or even from a malevolent spirit. While she texts her way through most of the film, we take a few swings at figuring out what’s happening and where we’re going with this slight ghost story.

There just wasn’t enough there to get me into the supernatural, but I applaud the visuals, the attempt to keep things real and the attempt by the skilled Assayas to get the viewer to see how it feels living in the shadow of someone else.

Personal Shopper (2016)

REVIEWED ON 4/7/2018       GRADE: B-