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Friday, May 1, 2015

Clouds of Sils Maria - A Film Review

I enjoyed seeing Clouds of Sils Maria today. It's a character drama starring Juliette Binoche as a theater actress who is acting in a revival of a play she did 20 years ago, only now playing the elder character instead of the ingenue, whom she still identifies with. It's a film about a woman dealing with aging, loss (she is in a bitter divorce with her husband; a beloved director friend of hers died), time, and her personal relevance, both as an actress and as a middle-aged woman. Binoche was fantastic in this, and I really found it mature and fascinating.
It was written and directed by Oliver Assayas, who directed another arthouse film that I really liked, Clean. It starred Maggie Cheung as a woman who struggles through drug addiction, losing custody of her son, and finding a new sense of self and purpose in life. Cheung was great in it, and I liked the Paris parts of the film, as well as Nick Nolte's performance as the paternal grandfather of her son.
Kristen Stewart played the actress's assistant, and I was mixed on her performance. Stewart is definitely better when she does indie movies, and seems to have more comfort in them. But her monotone voice can be very flat, and I didn't care much about her character. The assistant was loyal and sympathetic to her actress boss, and I found their personal relationship interesting, especially as it mirrors the play's themes, but I didn't find Stewart herself interesting as a performer. She wasn't bad in it, it was more her flat voice that made her sound very one-note in her delivery. I read that she just won a Cesar award for her performance, so it's great that she was well-received. I just didn't find her very compelling to watch.
It is a very good film, and was a pleasure to watch this afternoon, I definitely recommend it.


  1. In yet another year of middling roles for women, Clouds of Sils Maria is a dream come true.

  2. It really was very good. Binoche was excellent in it, and while I wasn't a big fan of Kristen Stewart, she did well in it too.