Having enjoyed French director Olivier Assayas' last film, "The Clouds of Sils Maria", I couldn't help but look forward to his second collaboration with actress Kristen Stewart and actor Lars Eidinger, "Personal Shopper".


It is classified as a mystery/thriller, but it purports to be a ghost story staged in the glamour section of Paris. Kristen Stewart plays Maureen, an American in Paris whose twin brother recently died. Though she is grief stricken, she is locked in on getting a signal from beyond from her brother as they shared a spisitual commonality. They were both mediums and they vowed whomever died first would reach out and contact the other.


To make a living while waiting for his signal, she is the personal shopper of a high fashion model named Kyra (Nora von Waldstatten) who is apparently very much a diva. Kyra has a boyfriend, Ingo (Lars Eidinger) whose role seems to have been edited down for some reason; it never really fits.

She takes on friends home, Lara (Sigrid Bouaziz) who wants to sell the home but thinks it is haunted. Maureen is hopeful that the spirit is her dead brother; there is no explanation as to why she thinks her dead brother's spirit would be hanging out at this particular home.


Nevertheless, the film progresses in a creepy manner with indications that the home is in fact haunted, but the question is by whom? Initially she only senses a presence and then things start to amp up.


It lacks the straight-up creepiness that the Blumhouse films have perfected, but the slow build of supernatural eeriness draws the audience into her strange world of medium and fashion adviser. Then she starts getting texts from whom she thinks is the unknown ghost. The ghost knows that she likes to wear Kyra's cloths which are on loan from various fashion houses.


Just when the story seems ready to reveal all, it takes a completely illogical left turn and hits a wall when there is a murder, more texts, and a trainwreck of an ending. None of the male characters make any sense, seemingly incomplete and out of place.


Even the so-called special effects look like they were derived in the Movie Production for Dummies book, wisps of spirits look more like cigarette smoke.


"Personal Shopper" is the ghost story that almost was. It's hard to tell if significant parts were edited out or if the story is just poorly written; a major disappointment.   -- GEOFF BURTON