There comes a scene where Kristen Stewart nearly breaks down in front of the camera with sheer rawness out of the frustration of turn of events. She sits coiled up on a chair in a train while her hands tremble uncontrollably. She first bites her fingernails and then, painstakingly types on her cellphone. Tears come slowly as the grief washes out her face. It’s fascinating to see an actress grown so profoundly over the course of years. Of all that is due to Stewart for accepting challenging roles and breaking her stereotypical image, credit also goes to Olivier Assayas for extracting such an intimate performance from her in Personal Shopper.
Olivier Assayas has drawn a beautiful comparison between the world in which Maureen Cartwright (Kristen Stewart) dwells and the spiritual world. Maureen takes up a job in Paris to be able to feel the presence of her deceased twin brother and as event unfold layer by layer, it’s evident that there is way more in the writing than what meets the eye. Assayas has played around with the supernatural tones and in a subtle manner, peels upon a character study of a sister stumbling under the weight of the cyclic nature of life and death.
The narrative plays around with polar opposites of the spiritual and real world. It brings around fear from the situations where Maureen tries to find peace, sensuality from the situations of forbid and absolute loneliness from the places she yearns to make contact. Minimal background score with sharp sound editing highlights the mere basic of echoes and enhances tensions in plentiful of occasions.
Olivier Assayas has crafted an exceptionally different take on the nature of grief that follows death and how people find ways to cope with it. It feels like a lonely arc waiting to be completed, as if a person has been bereft of his shadow. Personal Shopper is an eerily somber psychological study elevated by a daringly nuanced performance from Kristen Stewart.