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Personal Shopper Movie Review

It’s time for another movie review presented by our good friends over at FatCats Gilbert on the southwest corner of Greenfield and Baseline! FatCats Gilbert is the best place to see all of the latest movies at the box office in the most comfortable Recline-N-Dine seats. You don’t even have to leave your seat to eat delicious food like pizza, chicken, and french fries!

I’m actually really excited to be able to talk about this movie today! Personal Shopper was one that I had on my radar, but it wasn’t a movie that was anywhere near my most anticipated films of the year. Though I respect Kristen Stewart as an actress, I don’t think it comes as any shock to say that I find a lot of her early work relatively dry. I have to say that she has been really impressive lately, and the first time I noticed that was in Still Alice. I was intrigued by the premise of this movie, and I completely expected something that I had never seen before. Let’s talk about it!

Personal Shopper is directed by Olivier Assayas and stars Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz, and Ty Olwin. Maureen, played by Stewart, is a personal shopper for a high-end model in France. She’s not in love with her job, she’s working her way through art classes, and she’s struggling with the same disease that recently took her brother’s life. She’s in mourning over her brother, but she also seems to be able to communicate with spirits and is constantly looking for signs that he is at peace. On top of all of that, she seems to have acquired a stalker who is making demands that may or may not give her safe ideas.

If you couldn’t tell by the synopsis, this movie is a combination of many, many different styles, tones, and events. It shifts back, forth, left, right, up, down, northwest, southwest, and any other way you could possibly think of, and it does so in the best way possible. My favorite thing about the film is its pure originality, unpredictability, and refusal to reveal its secrets. Just three months into the year, I haven’t seen a single movie that has kept me locked in and captivated simply by deciding not to reveal anything. I felt like Personal Shopper rewired my brain to actually think about the film as compared to waiting for the story to unfold before my eyes and have everything explained to me. It doesn’t do that, and I have to admire how bold that decision is. Next, as many tone shifts, story shifts, and general shifts as there are in Personal Shopper, somehow it all comes together much more cohesively than you might expect. Ordinarily you might see a movie that puts so many moving pieces together and decide that it never pulls together as one. Personal Shopper uses its ambiguity, mystery, and franticness to come together as one fascinating and riveting thriller that kept my heart beating the entire time. It’s beautifully directed and edited, and the story actually has a lot to say about what it means to lose a family member. The best examples of this come in scenes in which Stewart is texting her stalker, and you can see the stress that it puts her under. She has no idea who she’s texting, and the possibility of sending the wrong thing, the possibility of who is on the other end, and the idea that the person on the other end knows so much about her makes her extremely nervous and vulnerable, and we learn so much about her character through these scenes. Kristen Stewart also blew me away in this role. This might be the best I’ve seen from her in her entire career, and she pulled off the stress of her situation and the grief of losing a family member.

I’m hard-pressed to find something I didn’t like in the movie just because every time it went in an odd direction or did something weird, I was so intrigued by the way it avoided mainstream norms. Like I said earlier, it would have been very easy to have a misstep in all of the changes in tone and story, and it would have been easy to have a flimsy structure and not be able to decide what it actually wants to be. A lot of the changes worked for me, and so many different tones worked and became cohesive. My one thing that I could find that didn’t at least compel me was a bit of the beginning. It took a second for me to fully jump in and accept a lot of what this movie shows. It felt a little bit dry, but it definitely picked up once I realized what the film was going for.

Overall, Personal Shopper is possibly the most intriguing movie of the year, and it’s so fascinating because it refuses to tell us its secrets. It’s probably the most captivating film I’ve seen in 2017, and the constant tone changes and franticness of the shifts make it extremely original and unpredictable. It’s very well-directed and edited, and the story has a lot to say about how people react and the tension that grows after losing someone you’re close to and beginning to part with your better judgement. It’s visually interesting and the story is so enthralling and different. If you go into this movie expecting a supernatural horror-thriller, you’ll be severely disappointed. In fact, you’re going to have to open your mind to many different genres and go in with zero expectations. I’d absolutely suggest seeing it, but leave every genre expectation at the door. I’m going to give Personal Shopper an 8/10.

Will you be seeing Personal Shopper? Comment down in the comment section and let me know! As always, thank you, and keep listening to 88.7 The Pulse!

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Justin Lyons

Hey, it's Justin Lyons! I am the Chief Film Critic for The Pulse. Have any questions for me? Please feel free to email me at movies@pulseradio.fm