TIFF 2016 Review: “Personal Shopper” (2016) ★★★★★


The connection twins have with each other can cause envy in other people. The truth is, if something happens with one of them, or even dies, the one that survived will do anything possible to not lose the connection. If for that the person needs to look around in search of, kind of scary to say it, spirit of a deceased one – that will be done no questions asked. Why am I so sure about it? Because I myself have an identical twin sister. This is why I could relate to the story told in Olivier Assayas’s PERSONAL SHOPPER, even though, luckily, I never had to go through the same great loss that Kristen Stewart’s Maureen had to…

Maureen’s twin brother Lewis loses his life to a heart-attack. But before that, the siblings promise each other that if he dies, he will comeback after to prove that life after death exists. In search of signs or the spiritual presence of Lewis, Maureen comes back to Paris to the same house where he dies with the hope to reconnect with him. Despite still seeing a violent ghost, but not her brother’s, the young woman does not want to stop at anything as long as she gives a chance to her brother to prove himself right.

Maureen has an interesting and exciting job as a Personal Shopper to Kyra, a high profile person who is too recognizable to go out to purchase anything for herself. Despite that being the main reason for Maureen to accept a job offer, her intention to be in Paris for her brother was known to her fiancé and Lewis’ girlfriend, who greatly helps Maureen in her wait for a miracle. One day, when Maureen had to take a trip to London to buy some accessories for Kyra, she starts receiving strange text messages from an unknown number.

Hoping that the messages she receives might be from her brother, soon, she finds something new about herself, as anything forbidden scares her. However, that does not stop her from being the one she should never be… But that was not the main purpose of Olivier Assayas in telling this story, rather, to research and study one’s character to see how far she can go to uncover something new about herself, even if that self is dangerous, adventurous and exciting at the same time. But as you know, you can’t play with the fire and hope not to get burned, which seems, Maureen has forgotten about that fact…

In conclusion, what was more shocking about Assayas’ film is not beautifully crafted scenes, subtly told story, but Kristen Stewart who with her tour-de-force performance leaves all her previous works behind. Here she delivers Maureen as a quiet human being, but in the meantime, someone extremely curious, open to changes, and who desperately loves her twin brother, that eventually makes her to look for his spirit everywhere. And the thing is, will she be able to connect with him or not should not matter, but what matters is Maureen’s flexible mind which takes her much further than she could have anticipated. And that you will certainly understand, if you happen not to have a twin, but pretend that you have one.

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