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Old 05-11-2015, 07:11 AM   #1
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Default Clouds of Sils Maria (2015)

Clouds of Sils Maria
Rotten Tomatoes: 89%
IMDB: 6.8/10
Director: Olivier Assayas
Staaring: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloe Grace-Moretz

I went to see Clouds of Sils Maria tonight, which I was motivated to do after reading a few reviews praising Stewart's and Binoche's acting in the movie. It's a lovely character movie, Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is an actress turning 40, made famous for a role she played as an 18 year old, where she seduced an older woman. In this movie, a promising young director asks her to redo the play, but this time playing the role of the older woman, the one who is seduced. This role reversal in turn reflects how Maria Enders has evolved in life, which in turn reflects how Juliette Binoche has herself evolved.

It's very "meta" and the movie plays with the meta-ness several times. It was somewhat confusing early on, I wasn't sure if the pretend-dialogue between Valentine (Stewart) and Enders was supposed to purely be "in story", or supposed to be layered commentary on the characters themselves and the actors. At some point the movie confirms, yes, it's commentary on all three, it's confirmed a few times I think. There's a funny line where Stewart jokes that werewolves are pointless, for those not in the joke, she was chased by a werewolf in the Twilight movies.

The screenplay and the directing is pretty grim, it's a grim analysis of what happens to women as they turn 40, with a few caveats. As the movie progresses, Maria Enders wears less and less makeup, and she's dressed in a less and less sexy manner, and to compound that her presence also becomes less commanding and less confident, she fully acquiesces to Jo-Ann Ellis (Moretz) in a final scene which is a role reversal of a scene earlier in the movie where Ellis is basically worshipping her. She tells Ellis that she doesn't want to be discarded, which mirrors how Valentine discarded her on the mountain earlier, and Ellis says no, the story has passed Helen by, no one cares about her anymore.

This is hinted at early on in the story, where an old creep is hitting on her. I figure she's doing this so that she can revel in turning him down, which she said she had done ten years prior. Instead, she gives him her hotel room number so that he can come over and ****, and we never see him go over. The old creep turns her down. I didn't realize the meaning early on in the movie, but that's what's going on, it's foreshadowing.

On the other hand, there's some room for interpretation. Part of life passing Enders by may be due to her rigidity, she refuses to accept new trends like the X-Men movies. Later on in the movie we see her wear a shirt with a wolf on it, I'm assuming it's a werewolf and that she's lightening up. She's offered a part as some superhero character, and she's willing to take it. The younger director, who looks less pretentious, is into her.

All three of the actresses nailed their roles. Binoche was subtle, and her laughter is so genuine, when she laughed the whole theatre laughed. Moretz really revelled in being somewhat of a primadonna, I have no idea if she's actually like that. Kristen Stewart, incorrectly derided by ignorant North Americans as being a horrible actress, won a Cesar award for her performance, she's the only American woman to ever win a Cesar, which is the French equivalent of the oscars.

Somewhat grim ethics for this movie, and a little long and hard to follow sometimes, but more than made up for with great cinematography, great dialogue, and a genuine evolution in interesting characters.

Grade: A

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Old 05-13-2015, 04:29 PM   #2
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Default Re: Clouds of Sils Maria (2015)

It's a good movie and you get to see Stewart in a thong.

"For me, I hope people take away when they see 'The Force Awakens' is the sense that in the most ordinary life, the most extraordinary things can happen."

-- J.J. Abrams
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