A personal shopper in Paris refuses to leave the city until she makes contact with her twin brother who previously died there. Her life becomes more complicated when a mysterious person contacts her via text message.
At the peak of her international career, Maria Enders is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous twenty years ago. But back then she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young girl who disarms and eventually drives her boss Helena to suicide. Now she is being asked to step into the other role, that of the older Helena. She departs with her assistant to rehearse in Sils Maria; a remote region of the Alps. A young Hollywood starlet with a penchant for scandal is to take on the role of Sigrid, and Maria finds herself on the other side of the mirror, face to face with an ambiguously charming woman who is, in essence, an unsettling reflection of herself. Written by
Cannes Film Festival
In the opening, the characters are riding in what is clearly a second-class rail car. This would be completely out of character, given what we see later in the movie. See more »
[Referring to Jo-Ann]
She dives headfirst into a character's ambiguities, but I don't. That's why you admire what she does.
Yeah. You know, I think that when you watch her in a movie like in the one we saw tonight, there is - there is no distance there.
It's normal, it's a - culture. Right?
What's wrong with my acting? What do I need to do to make you admire me? Do I think too much? Huh? I'm too classical; not liberated like Jo-Ann? You're here to talk to me, so start talking.
I don't ...
[...] See more »
During the closing credits, four of the actors are shown under the heading "guest appearance by". See more »
We witnessed the kinetic energy of the Oscar-winning Birdman about an aging actor making a comeback on the Broadway stage. Now with the expert and engaging Clouds of Sils Maria we witness a middle-aged actress, Maria (Juliette Binoche), contend with both her 20-year return to the same play but as the older character and the energy of a personal assistant, Valentine (Kristen Stewart), that reminds Maria of time's passage and the changes in her profession.
Writer/director Olivier Assayas delights us with stunning camera work in an early sequence on the train;Hitchcock would love the camera and editing if you remember Strangers on a Train. Assayas also features the Alps with such loving cinematography you'll be booking a trip. Credit Yorick Le Saux for the editing and Marion Monnier for cinematography.
The heart of an excellent drama such as this is its words, the best way to convey the complex emotions each actress must display. Besides Binoche's up-close glamour, Kristin Stewart's sassy, dark beauty is there to remind us that youth rules.
The screenplay offers advice about the changing nature of dynamic dialogue: "The text is like an object. It's gonna change perspective based on where you're standing." (Valentine). In the case of Maria and Valentine, the sometimes screwball-comedy-like repartee reveals layers of perception and emotion heightened by the fact that we are witnessing the deconstruction of the acting experience: Maria holds to classical interpretation while Valentine's thesis is that spontaneity and electricity are the key components.
The plot of Maria's accepting a stage role for a play she acted in 20 years ago as the young lead loosely parallels the scenario of this film (young assistant provoking the older actress) until a climactic moment on the mountain, a moment whose ambiguity will demand you complete the scene for yourself. Regardless, you will know you have seen one of the best films of the year depicting the rigorous working of the art of acting given by two of the best actresses today in film (Stewart won a Cesar for this role, Binoche won an Oscar for English Patient, and a mature Chloe Grace Moretz is sure to be Oscar nominated soon!).
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