Personal Shopper is a French made, English Language psychological thriller starring Kristen Stewart as Maureen, a personal shopper for a rich woman who recently lost her brother Lewis to a genetic heart problem. She spends her time at Lewis’ old house in hopes of reaching his spirit after which she begins receiving texts from an unknown source. The performance from Kristen Stewart is utterly fantastic. She is an actress who has been critacised a lot in the past, but her performance here in Personal Shopper is just the latest, and the best of a series of very strong performances. She sells the scarier moments, the drama, and the emotional side of the film.
The other striking element of Personal Shopper is that it’s a really hard film to pin down, because whilst it is a thriller, and is very effective as one, it often strays more towards a drama. Going in with no prior knowledge of what the film was about may make it difficult to know what the filmmaker was attempting. It feels as though director and writer Olivier Assayas wanted to play with the tone of the film. It does make the tense or ‘spooky’ moments of the film that much scarier and stand out far more. However it doesn’t always work, at times it feels a little too different, and almost like scenes are part of different films.
Personal Shopper probably won’t be a film for everyone, it doesn’t offer a clear answer to what is happening, and the stark differences in tone may put some people off. But if you are able to buy into it then Personal Shopper offers a thriller with moments of real tension and scares, and a central character who you can genuinely care about thanks to some sharp writing and what could be a career best performance from Kristen Stewart.