SO, THIS is a story all about how a twin medium’s life got flipped turned upside down, so I’d like to take a minute just sit right there, I’ll tell you about how KStew became the ghost of a town called short hair. *Instrumental break* Did I lose you? I know it was a stretch at the end but I needed something that rhymed with Bel-Air and that was the best I could do. If you can do better, let me know and I’ll change it.
The first like 10 min of the movie is Kristen Stewart opening glass french doors onto bleak nothingness, and then pushing her hair around to let us know she’s upset. Phones and hair-pushing are like 80% of how information gets conveyed in this movie and as an audience member lemme just say, the phone is my preference. (More on this later!!) It makes me go back and revisit in my mind all the movies where we just had hair-pushing, and what a disaster those were. Kristen Stewart relies on certain sections of her head and face a disproportionate amount to convey emotion: top and sides of the head (where the hair is), bottom lip, and middle of the eyebrows. Any avid KStew fan knows, these three areas are where all the acting’s happening. You don’t even need to look anywhere else. You can, and you probably will, but you don’t need to.
So we’re kind of invested, because clearly she’s got a lot going on, but then the plot goes all the way to hell about 15 minutes into the movie. At the beginning you’re like, oh interesting a movie about a personal shopper that isn’t vanity driven or shallow but seems to be complex and she has stuff going on (not that personal shoppers can’t be complex but in movies they’re always chewing gum and saying something caustic about sweaters- it’s never a personal shopper discussing applied ethics in between dress fittings) and we’re curious about what that stuff is, until this monologue where we find out the stuff she has going on is: GHOSTS.
In this movie not only is Kristen Stewart a personal shopper, she can also sense “presences,” NOT GHOSTS SHE DOESN’T KNOW IF SHE BELIEVES IN GHOSTS OK JUST LET HER WEAR HER BEANIES IN PEACE. And wow does she have a lot going on. Her twin brother Lewis died 95 days ago of a heart attack caused by a congenital heart defect she also has. (We learn this in quite the shocking topless scene where her boobs tell their own story). Her brother was also a medium. Not at Old Navy, like with the dead.
KStew, “Maureen,” is waiting for a sign from her brother because while they were both alive they made an oath that whoever died first would give the other a sign. Did you know a vague pact with no clear or discernible meaning can provide momentum for 105 minutes of plot? I didn’t either! So, she’s waiting in Paris for the sign because that’s where he died. She’s American, I assume her twin brother is American, she lives in Paris but zips around to London a lot where her brother’s partner lives-I’m just saying they seem very cosmopolitan for two mediums? Is there a thriving medium community overseas? They’re kind of made fun of here (Mediums here are either from Long Island or a 1-800 number) but I would love it if it’s really well-respected other places. Like being a dentist, but for ghosts.
So there’s also this other thing where Kristen/Maureen seems to have a sexual relationship with the clothes she picks up for her boss (celebutante Kyra). Every time Kristen goes to a fitting, or a shoot, people ask her to try on clothes and I just don’t think that’s part of it? Why would they? It seems odd. (It’s sort of implied it’s because they’re the same size so they don’t have to bring it back to be fitted because that’s what it is for shoes, but when Kristen’s taking a selfie in a mirror in Kyra’s dress later she’s gathering it in the back because it’s too big, and we already saw a fashion week photo of Kyra in it and it fit, sooooo no dice!!). Kristen sort of has this, “I know I shouldn’t, but I want to” look in her eyes every time they bring out a tank top that is usually reserved for when someone wants to fuck someone who is married, but here is used for when she wants to try on a pair of shoes.
Then she’s texting with a spirit? An “Unknown” number texts her phone and keeps saying ominous weird things and asking her questions and first she thinks it’s Lewis but then it just seems like some guy from Tinder (“I want you. I will have you.”) You know when you think you’re texting your dead brother but really it’s just some dude trying to fuck?? So annoying! This texting conversation lasts throughout almost the whole second half of the movie. She travels between two countries and is still keeping up this conversation. It’s a long conversation is what I’m saying.
I will say a few things about Kristen’s texting grammar since we spent a lot of the movie watching her text (suspenseful!). She puts a space in between a sentence and a question mark and I APPRECIATE THAT because I do that too. When the question mark is right there next to the words it feels really urgent but when you type your thought then a space then the question mark, it feels like your words can be considered on their own, then the question mark adds tone, like, ‘what did you also think about this?’ Something I did NOT appreciate was that she’s either all or nothing with punctuation which is really extreme and off-putting. Either a sentence has nothing, or it has TWO question marks which is so aggressive! Her texts looked like 2 different people, both with mood disorders trading the phone back and forth. That’s probably enough about the texting grammar.
Her boss gets murdered at some point. After KStew tries on her clothes and masturbates in them, and she finds the body. She’s freaked out and runs away but then comes back and tells the police. In the middle of all of this she neglects her spirit text penpal which upsets it, so it comes after her/decides to frame her? But then tells her to got to a hotel, where we see some elevator doors open and close and it looks like the camera is following a ghost? Then Kyra’s illegal boyfriend (she’s married) comes out and the cops go for him and he tries to get away/shoots at them, but they arrest him. While this hullabaloo is happening, Kristen feels unsafe alone (because ghosts) so she goes and stays with her brother’s alive girlfriend who is now dating someone else from work. Kristen talks to him and tells him he has nothing to feel guilty about, which is cool and understanding of her.
Then her brother appears on the patio and breaks a glass but she’s not looking out for signs right this second and leaves the country to go visit her boyfriend (Gary) in Marrakesh or wherever he is (he’s been traveling this whole time and I really thought the writing was on the wall for him to be cheating on her but I guess not) and then she thinks her brother’s there because another glass breaks, but it’s not? Then it’s her?? She was dead the whole time? This movie ends with her saying, “I guess the ghost was me” and a white out. A WHITE OUT. What!
The medium thing was honestly out of control, to the point where people in the theatre (me) were laughing. At one point Kristen Stewart looks at a faucet that was on and goes, “I’m gonna need more from you.” Which was absurd and very hilarious. I did not believe her as a medium, mostly because it was such an afterthought? They gave her way too much going on I think- she’s doing these cross hatch drawings of a door, then cumming while putting on shoes, then deciding which 500$ belt would go with being rich, then riding her moped to another country, honestly the dead probably couldn’t get a word in edgewise. I bet her brother has been trying to give her signs for like 45 days she’s just too busy watching videos of prescient abstract female artists on her phone or doing weird hand things to notice. (She did SO MANY weird hand things. She would like, rim cups she was drinking or play a mini invisible piano while looking in the fridge or stretch one finger out before opening doors, it was a lot).
The only scene we see Kyra in other than the one where she’s lying in a pool of her own blood is her and her lawyer on a conference call and they’re going back and forth very seriously with someone about some gorillas?? Where they can and cannot be, and a lot of other specific details about a group of gorillas for some reason?? It was really a funny choice to make, I appreciated that. I wanted Kyra to start talking to Kristen after she died, that would have been ironic since she didn’t really talk to her in life, but I think this movie wouldn’t have liked that, too much of a bow. No one can accuse them of that!
Oh also the man who murdered Kyra encouraged Kristen to follow her dreams? What are we supposed to take from that? Kristen Stewart’s makeup in this movie was phenomenal though. The subtlety of her eyeshadow is something her acting aspires to.
Some stuff didn’t make sense to me-the beginning of the movie Kristen goes to this house to try to hear from her brother (but it’s actually someone else, a mad lady who vomits “ectoplasm”) but why are they doing a ghost appraisal on this house? Who are the people buying the house who she’s giving the spirit reports to? No clue.
Overall, incredibly odd, and not in a fascinating new kind of way, in a, “that’s what you did?” kind of way. Eh. 3 out of 6 neutral pullovers, would masturbate again if I’m still thinking about it in a year.