Kristen Stewart and Olivier Assayas made waves with their 2014 film The Clouds of Sils-Maria, with Stewart picking up a surprise win for best supporting actress at the French equivalent of the Oscars, the Cesars (making her the first American performer in history ever to win a Cesar). Now Stewart and Assayas have teamed up for a second time, and actress and director are once again receiving accolades. Their second collaboration, Personal Shopper, won Assayas an award for best director at last year's Cannes Film Festival while garnering more strong reviews for Stewart.
Clouds of Sils-Maria had its enigmatic elements, and the second film from Stewart and Assayas promises to be even more mysterious. The somewhat strange premise for Personal Shopper involves Stewart, whose job is to buy fashion for taste-challenged rich people, becoming embroiled in a supernatural puzzle possibly involving the ghost of her dead brother. The title may not scream "supernatural horror" but that is evidently what the movie delivers, at least in part.
The new trailer for Personal Shopper from IFC Films (via Deadline) hints at the movie's eerie tone, while emphasizing Stewart's acclaimed performance. This is a ghost story but don't expect the kind of jump-scares typical of Blumhouse productions like Paranormal Activity and Sinister. The trailer promises a slow-building suspense film with creepy supernatural elements, and Kristen Stewart slowly getting drawn deeper into the mystery.
The film is being sold as a supernatural chiller, but given Assayas' reputation as an art-house director, audiences shouldn't expect a straight-forward ghost story. Your typical horror film doesn't compete for the Palme d'Or at Cannes, as Personal Shopper did. There are certain to be more layers to this particular mystery than what the trailer indicates.
The presence of Kristen Stewart is sure to make the film a subject for argument, with the lines being drawn as usual between those who dislike Stewart automatically and those who feel the need to defend her. Clouds of Sils-Maria may have won Stewart the French equivalent of the Oscar, but the actress still has many detractors. Stewart's efforts to wipe away the perception that she can't act, a perception mostly built upon her performances in the Twilight films, have led her to choose a wide range of roles in non-mainstream films and no matter what you think of Stewart you have to applaud her desire to challenge herself.
Personal Shopper has the feel of a film that will be challenging for the viewer, maybe in a positive way, and maybe in a negative way. American audiences will get to see for themselves what Personal Shopper is all about, and make up their own minds whether Kristen Stewart really deserves all the positive reviews, when the movie hits theaters stateside on March 10th, 2017.