Personal Shopper

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When it comes to the paranormal, I’m a big believer. I’ve had my own visits from anomalies/spirits/ghosts. It’s a strange thing; the idea that when someone dies and they have unfinished business or are not at peace, they lurk until they are able to carry on to where ever they’re headed.

I’ve always thought maybe that’s why we say Rest In Peace; if you don’t, their soul may be trapped here and might just haunt you. I selfishly didn’t say it after Prince passed because I not-so-secretly want His Royal Badness to haunt me.

While no one truly knows where we go from here, there are theories upon theories. Apophenia is the word for what our brains do when we connect random events that have essentially nothing to do with one another to create a phenomena that may or may not exist. I could be in my bedroom; the lights flicker and a moment later I hear a noise in the kitchen. Due to my raging apophenia, I’d automatically assume it was a poltergeist and I was not long for this world.

In reality, it’s just windy outside and the electricity is fighting the good fight while the cat is being a spaz and knocked something off of a counter.

When one is actively seeking a sign from a deceased loved one, apophenia goes on high alert. But is that all it is?

Personal Shopper is about a young woman named Maureen (Kristen Stewart) who is — duh — a personal shopper who also happens to be a bit of a clairvoyant. Working for high-profile celebrity/huge pain in the arse Kyra (Nora von Waldstätten), Maureen travels the streets as a civilian, collecting treasures — beautiful dresses, sparkly baubles, shoes that cost more than everything I own — so that her “boss” doesn’t have to.

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In the meantime, she is also desperately seeking a wave from beyond the grave from her deceased twin, Lewis, so that she knows he’s at peace. Being a medium, she’s sensitive to the energy that comes from forces unseen by the naked eye. After a run-in with what appears to be a benevolent force, Maureen begins receiving text messages from an unknown number whose operator won’t identify him/herself.

After an epic texting blur of blue and green text bubbles and the dreaded three dots from hell, Maureen is left with no clues as to who or what may be blowing up her phone. Unwilling to leave Paris until she hears from her brother, she begins to spiral downward and it isn’t until she stumbles upon a traumatic sight that she’s finally sent running. The last straw, if you will.

This movie has a real David Lynch vibe. It’s like if David Lynch and Sam Raimi loved each other very, very much and had a baby. There are shots of things that you’re unsure of in terms of importance and meaning, lots of sudden loud noises, and ghosts. It gives the viewer a profound sense of unease.

Certainly a departure for Kristen Stewart, Personal Shopper will lend credence to her range while she continues to shake off Twilight for the rest of her career. She’s delved aggressively into roles that she wants while ignoring rather scathing criticisms better than I ever could. Bully for you, Kristen! You do you, girl.

If you have the chance, catch this movie. Its eloquent simplicity and mostly handheld camera work give it a gritty, super indie feel. Director Olivier Assayas has done exclusively films that I’ve never heard of, which makes me feel like uncultured swine. No wonder the French hate us. I’ll look further down the rabbit hole that is Olivier Assayas, and you can check out Personal Shopper in the meantime. Let’s all be a little more French!

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(That’s Italian. I’ll show myself out.)

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