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Movie Breakdown: Clouds Of Sils Maria

April 30, 2015

Film

People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing led us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

Juliette Binoche stars in the rather dramatic looking Clouds of Sils Maria.

The Reality:

Every now and again I see something that I like but don’t actually get, like Clouds of Sils Maria.  The story itself isn’t hard to follow – an aging actress returns to the play that made her famous (but now in the role of the older woman, of course) and she isn’t exactly thrilled with her decision.  I just couldn’t quite figure out what director/writer Olivier Assayas wanted me to get out of all of it.  His film never goes where you think it might, one moment it’s about acting, then the next it switches to relationships, then it’s going after Hollywood, or there’s commentary on getting old, and so on.  As I mentioned though, it’s actually a good movie.  While it may be unfocused and dense, it features wonderful performances by Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart.  I found myself completely wrapped up in them whenever they were on the screen together, and I think it’s actually the two of them that make the film’s scattershot approach worth trying to piece together.  If you’re looking to avoid the flash of the blockbuster season, Clouds of Sils Maria is a solid place to start.

The Lesson:

What are you trying to say, Olivier?

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