It looks like Olivier Assayas‘ latest project, Personal Shopper starring Kristen Stewart (Camp X-Ray), will be this year’s Sea of Trees, the 2015 Cannes Competition submission starring Matthew McConaughey that generated a sea of boos among its premiere audience. Both films, in one way or another, involve ghosts and intimate character pieces carried by their star actors. Whether it’s the dramatic ghost stories that deter audiences, Personal Shopper does have an important distinction: critics are coming to its defense in their reviews and on Social Media.
A follow-up to his project Clouds of Sils Maria, which co-starred Stewart and earned her a Cesar award, Assayas considers Personal Shopper to be a sort of spiritual sequel. Sils Maria, although generally praised by critics, was also a divisive film among general audiences (it ended up on both MXDWN’s Most Disappointing and Most Surprising films of 2015 as well as Best Performances). The one constant for both films, however, seems to be Stewart’s complex and layered performances carrying the heavy subject material. Critics are coming to believe in Stewart’s performances more and more during her post-Twilight career. Twitter is currently buzzing with unfailing praise for the actress.
In Personal Shopper, Stewart plays Maureen, an American thrust into the bustling fashion world of Paris as a personal shopper, a woman on the fringes of glitz and glamour. She also has a connection to the spiritual world and her recently deceased brother. According to critics, the film explores her increased depths of isolation. As a medium, Maureen also comes into contact with “computer generated” ghosts which some target as being the source of audience displeasure. Some critics see this as Assayas throwing rules out the window and creating something truly innovative, an act which often meets with indignation among audiences at first, but also has the potential to make it a sleeper hit or a potential for the cult classic arena.
See some of the Twitter reactions below, which call into question the credibility of the “boos” received by Personal Shopper:
— Jason Solomons (@JasonCritic) May 16, 2016
PERSONAL SHOPPER (A-) Assayas never plays the same game twice. Part spiderweb, part Chanel sheath, all silken shiver. Stewart kills again. — Guy Lodge (@GuyLodge) May 16, 2016
Despite ringing of boos, PERSONAL SHOPPER trounces above competition thanks to Kristen Stewart’s magnetic, unflinching performance. #Cannes
— ᴬᶰᵗʰᵒᶰʸ (@nightraincity) May 16, 2016