Kristen Stewart stars as Maureen, a young American in Paris in this ghost story meets psychological thriller. Maureen works as a personal shopper to Kyra (Nora Von Waltstätten) a high-maintenance model and doyenne of the Paris fashion scene. It’s an unfulfilling job and one she only puts up with because she is also a medium, staying in Paris because she is trying to obtain assurance from the ghost of Lucas, her twin brother, that he has finally found peace.
Stewart’s performance as the taken-for-granted, trying-to-figure-it-all-out Maureen is excellent. We follow her as she goes about her day job, rushing around the city clothes and jewellery for her employer at short notice. It soon becomes clear that Maureen herself is a ghost in Kyra’s life, as she has taken to trying on Kyra’s clothes and sleeping in her apartment when she is away. At the same time, Maureen is being stalked by text, leaving us wondering whether this is Lucas trying to get in contact or someone else entirely.
Personal Shopper switches between a character-driven study of a young American in Paris, the ghost story and something entirely creepier. It plays with our expectations of both psychological dramas and ghost stories, but doesn’t always manage to pull this off, resulting in some jarring changes in tone, particularly when integrating the supernatural elements with the rest of the story.
However, the film succeeds in creating a very real sense of menace, and we realise early on that Maureen’s ghosting of Kyra is inevitably leading to a very unhappy conclusion. There’s one particularly creepy scene in which Maureen switches on her phone and her anonymous stalker threatens her with a series of texts in quick succession as they draw closer.
Personal Shopper is a cleverly plotted and original film which aims high but doesn’t quite hit its target, leaving a number of loose ends in its wake. Having said that, it’s never boring and will leave you intrigued until the very end.