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Personal Shopper; Aquarius; Beauty and the Beast; A Quiet Passion and more – reviews

 

A haunted Kristen Stewart excels in Personal Shopper, Sônia Braga is brilliantly furious in Aquarius, while Terence Davies’s Emily Dickinson biopic is distinctly unpoetic

Doors creak, ectoplasm swirls and wind whistles through crumbling mansions in Personal Shopper (Icon, 15), but Olivier Assayas’s sharp, glassy ghost story is no retro Victorian rehash. This tale of grief taking either uncanny or deliriously illusory form amid the walking cyphers of Paris’s celebrity set is quite the most modern vision of a phantom menace in recent memory – one that sees even an instrument as soulless as the iPhone become a potential conduit of spiritual presence.

As bespoke fashion buyer Maureen (Kristen Stewart) tries to blankly continue her life of second-hand privilege in the wake of her twin brother Lewis’s death, uncertain apparitions intervene to shake her out her waking sleepwalk. Is it Lewis? Someone or something else? Or as she enters eerie text-message exchanges with an invisible stalker, is the call simply coming from inside her head? Assayas thrillingly keeps all options open, directing what seems like schlock with silken precision that gradually uncovers a messy tangle of emotional threads. As for Stewart, while wholly unconvincing as someone named Maureen, she’s otherwise coolly astonishing, shuffling terror, desire and disaffection with a single hand from scene to scene.

Marion Cotillard makes a rare error of judgment in Nicole Garcia’s dozy, heavily cologned melodrama

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Source: Guardian

By Max Schindler