After becoming famous from the “Twilight” franchise, Kristen Stewart has been working hard to establish her credentials as a serious actress. Her big breakthrough came in 2014 in Olivier Assayas‘ backstage drama “Clouds of Sils Maria” as a personal assistant to a fading star (Oscar winner Juliette Binoche). She made history as the first American to winning Best Supporting Actress at the César Awards (the French equivalent to the Oscars).
She also won Best Supporting Actress from the National Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Circle, Boston Society of Film Critics and was the runner-up for the L.A. Critics Award. However, all that attention failed to translate into an Oscar nomination.
Now, actress and director have reunited for “Personal Shopper,” an intense character study framed as a thriller that opened on March 10 to stellar reviews. Many reviewers, including those excerpted below, were lavish in their praise for her performance. Will it be remembered by these same critics in their awards at the end of the year. And, in turn, will Stewart finally win over the actors branch of the academy?
A.O. Scott (New York Times): “he possesses an uncanny ability to turn her natural charisma into diffidence. You can’t take your eyes off her, even as she seems to be making every effort to deflect your attention, to obscure her radiance, to disappear onscreen.”
Justin Chang (Los Angeles Times): “Stewart’s style is so unaffected that it takes a while to realize that Maureen is registering the effects of a profound, soul-shaking trauma, one that threatens to destabilize her very understanding of who she is. Her character may not know who she is or where she’s headed, but on the evidence of her finest screen performance to date, Kristen Stewart knows exactly what she’s doing.”
Peter Bradshaw (The Guardian) “Kristen Stewart’s performance is tremendous: she is calm and blank in the self-assured way of someone very competent, smart and young, yet her displays of emotion are very real and touching. She is entirely devoted to her smartphone, which is to be the conduit of her fears and there is a dash of pure Hitchcockian brilliance in a scene where she turns it on and a backlog of texts starts mounting up, bringing danger ever closer.
Stephanie Zacharek (Time): “Stewart is both laid back and ablaze here. Her eyes can be as alert as a tiger’s, but more often they seem to assay the world with the cool, lazy blink of a lizard. She moves with the grace of a boy who both plays baseball and takes ballet. You wouldn’t call her gamine—that’s too cute, too in-between, and Stewart is definitive. She knows exactly who she is: Her allure is that she keeps us guessing.”
Peter Travers (Rolling Stone): “Stewart makes flesh and blood of Assayas’ indictment of a digital society where text is slowly replacing touch and verbal contact.”