Personal Shopper

personal shopper

(spoiler free)

Reuniting with French writer & director, Olivier Assayas, Kristen Stewart continues to distance herself from her more blockbuster beginnings with her work here in ‘Personal Shopper’. The film tells an unconventional ghost story centering around Stewart’s character who is also a personal shopper for a very high profile client.

I think we can all finally get over the fact that Stewart is an actress who can deliver accomplished performances. After a string of impressive roles for the young actress she has definitely proven herself as a talent. ‘Personal Shopper’ only furthers this conclusion. She plays Maureen, a character who has recently lost her brother. She attempts to interpret messages from him from the afterlife whilst managing her challenging and unsatisfying career. Stewart does well here considering her character is really the only one we get to know, she has to carry most of the film on her shoulders. She manages this with ease though, confidently occupying the screen. She is convincing in the multitude of elements to her characters personality which is a real complex mixture. This meant the film had a strong and reliable central performer which allowed the narrative to come to life effortlessly.

However, saying that there are a couple of moments near the beginning of the films running time where the pacing is a slight issue. These moments are quickly forgotten about though as the film gets going. The story is very grounded, it doesn’t play for scares like most cinematic ghost stories. Instead it treats its subject matter with great respect and injects some real context and information about it into the story. Despite this not really being your stereotypical horror film it’s still incredibly creepy. There are some very clever narrative techniques used here to instill fear into the characters and viewers. What results is a palpable sense of unease which suits the story nicely. Adding to this was the fantastic work done with the sound. The inclusion of the harsh and unforgiving audio contributed appropriately to the more chilling elements of the narrative. Which as a whole is very open to interpretation and discussion but it has enough substance to avoid being too inconclusive.  

Depending on your expectations you could either love or hate ‘Personal Shopper’. I appreciated how it took the conventional ghost story and gave it room to breath offering something refreshing for the genre. Stewart continues to showcase her abilities well and anchors the film with a strong self assurance. The tension featured throughout the film helps to make it an engaging watch, something that without it may have struggled. It’s definitely an intriguingly written film with much potential for dissection and one that all horror fans should experience.

Rating – 7.5/10

Question: What is your favourite cinematic ghosts story?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)

Thanks for reading this review and please let me know what you thought about the movie! Leave a comment below or drop me a tweet over at @HCMovieReviews.




2 thoughts on “Personal Shopper

  1. Great review of a very ambiguous film. I cannot share your conclusions about the story or rating. In place of a cohesive narrative, we have ambiguity elevated as an artform in itself. The tired old floating veils, self-levitating objects, and creaky floorboards show little originality; the only fresh contribution to the genre is the iPhone as a ghostly medium. But you are absolutely right about Stewart being outstanding.

  2. Thank you and yes I loved the ambiguity of it all! I understand why you would think that I just thought the way in which these tropes were used felt fresh. They weren’t always played for scares and the whole idea of the human seeking the ghostly apparition rather than an evil spirit haunting a human appealed to me. She’s an actress who I’ve gone from eye rolling when I saw her name in opening credits to one whose work I wholly anticipate!

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