Clouds Of Sils Maria

Reviewed for Empire Online as part of the Glasgow Film Festival 2015:

One of the most popular films at this year’s Glasgow Film Festival was Clouds Of Sils Maria, an interesting meta drama about ageing, acting and artistic interpretation. Dealing with all this is Maria Enders (the reliably terrific Juliette Binoche), an accomplished, middle-aged actress who is asked to star in a new production of the play that made her famous. The difference this time, however, is that she won’t be playing the young, seductive temptress — she’ll be featuring as the foolish older woman who ends up committing suicide.

Opposite Binoche is Kristen Stewart, who offers another solid post-Twilight performance as Valentine, Maria’s smartphone-juggling personal assistant. The film is pretty much a two-hander, with most scenes finding the duo engaged in long, discursive conversations. The dialogue is impossibly eloquent at times, but director Olivier Assayas makes interesting points about a variety of subjects, including celebrity culture, film snobbery, and the unique relationship that actors have with the characters that they play. Some have described the film as pretentious and repetitive, others as rich and compelling. In the end, it’s all a matter of interpretation.