Clouds of Sils Maria (2015)
Critic Consensus: Bolstered by a trio of powerful performances from its talented leads, Clouds of Sils Maria is an absorbing, richly detailed drama with impressive depth and intelligence.
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Critic Reviews for Clouds of Sils Maria
As Valentine and Marie argue over their interpretations of the play, it sparks an ongoing discussion about youth, aging, memory, superstition and fame.
It meditates long and hard on questions of age, sincerity, celebrity and love, piling irony on irony. And it features a remarkably natural performance by Kristen Stewart that's so unastounding it's astounding.
Binoche, on whom the camera affectionately lingers, makes herself achingly vulnerable. Though the film feels at times a bit cloudy and enigmatic, it's often fascinating in its juxtapositions.
Brilliant performances aside, "Clouds of Sils Maria" is overlong and much too self-indulgently an "art film." It might have benefited from being just a bit more grounded.
Clouds of Sils Maria is fiendishly wise to the ways of show business, particularly the boxes in which it places women. But the film offers more than that.
Audience Reviews for Clouds of Sils Maria
Hard to rate. I couldn't honestly say I loved it, and parts were down right dull, also, 2 plus hours is a big ask for this very slow movie. However, I would have to say it is a well made movie and I think there is something not immediately accessible that is good about it. It's definitely one to think about as I think a lot is personal interpretation so different people will get different messages from it. Or not at all, and be bored. I'm glad I pressed on, not sure I would watch again. I certainly will be thinking about it fir quite some time, though.
Fiction and reality (in this case, "reality") merge in this fascinating meta-discussion that brings to mind Ingmar Bergman's Persona and also works as a biting satire on celebrity culture, with excellent performances from its three actresses, especially a surprising Kristen Stewart.
It's safe to say that Clouds of Sils Maria is a character study. Beyond that though I'm not exactly sure how to label what Oliver Assayas is trying to say with this piece. That is to say, it's a bit dramatically gray. Val enjoys working for Maria, a famous actress. Maria treasures Val's youthful energy. Kristin Stewart inhabits a woman that almost seems tailored made to suit her own temperament. She's at her very best. When Val pleads with her employer to look past the veneer of a rising starlet's goofy superhero role to the talent beneath, you can actually hear Stewart justifying her own work in the Twilight movies. She is every bit Binoche's match in these conversations. Stewart's work here is a reminder of just how great she can be. In the end, one can at least say Clouds simply concerns time, or the passage of it and how it affects us. Director Assayas understands women. With this production, he has created a richly textured examination of individuals with three juicy female parts. There are a few men in the picture too, but they are inconsequential additions merely there to support the girls. Ah yes, Clouds of Sils Maria is that rare meaningful film where women are the sole purpose of the tale. Yes for those familiar with the Bechdel Test, this passes with flying colors. fastfilmreviews.com
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