This movie almost had me. It was interesting up to a point, and then it just began to fall apart.
Personal Shopper was apparently quickly pulled together after the collapse of another production, and it ends up feeling like it. There are unresolved and unexplored bits from at least three different movies here. It’s not a complete mess. There’s a strong enough character line passing through all three to make something resembling cohesive, but it’s not strong enough to actually engage.
Maureen is a young American living in Paris, but she’s obviously unhappy and still refuses to leave. She has a boyfriend in the UAE who tells her to come along, but she must wait in Paris. It’s unclear for a while, but we get an exposition dump about a third of the way through the movie where she reveals that she and her deceased brother were both mediums. He died, and she’s waiting for a sign from him. In the meantime, she’s the personal shopper for a famous, entitled woman. She buys her clothes and accessories, walking into high end boutiques to buy things she could never afford nor wear.
Then she starts receiving text messages from an unknown caller on a trip to London that delves into her desire to be the woman she’s shopping for. The conversation itself is actually fairly tense for a surprising amount of time, but it quickly feels removed from everything else around the subplot. And that’s where the movie really began to fall apart for me.
That was where the seams between the three main stories (ghost story, slice of life shopper, and text messages) became really hard to ignore. I kept waiting for it all to come together, but when the starlet is murdered, the movie kind of drops everything only to revisit the ghost story in the final moments of the movie. It’s there that we learn that the movie is supposed to be about grief and letting things go, but if that’s the case what was everything about Maureen putting on the starlet’s clothes that took up the central third of the film?
There are ideas running through the movie, and it feels like the person behind the camera knows, in general, what they need to do to make a movie. And yet, the script feels beyond rushed, really rough, and disconnected.
Netflix Rating: 3/5
Quality Rating: 2/4