It's fair to say that Kristen Stewart has been straining mightily to turn over a new leaf in her career, and in some sense, she already has: in the years since she finished her run as the star of the critically-reviled but wildly-popular Twilight series, she's managed to transform into one the critical community's favorite stars.
Look no further than the reviews out of Cannes for Stewart's performance in Olivier Assayas's uncategorizable Personal Shopper, in which the actress stars as Maureen, an American living in Paris who pays the bills by working as an assistant to a demanding French model/actress (Nora von Waldstätten). She also happens to be a psychic medium who is literally and figuratively haunted by the spirit of her late twin brother, who died in the French capital shortly before the events of the movie begin to unfurl.
While several members of the notoriously volatile Cannes booed Personal Shopper following its premiere screening — the film itself has been generally divisive — Stewart has received almost universal praise from critics, something she also enjoyed via her last collaboration with Assayas, the Juliette Binoche-starring Clouds of Sils Maria. Here's a sampling of the plaudits out of the festival:
“Amid all the shifting mirrored surfaces and hazy ambiguities of Olivier Assayas's bewitching, brazenly unconventional ghost story, this much can be said with certainty: Kristen Stewart has become one hell of an actress.” – Guy Lodge, Time Out London
“Stewart is a terrific actress, her brittle exterior barely masking whatever tempest she or her characters are battling underneath…” – Peter Debruge, Variety
“Stewart's performance-which smart money says will be Cannes's Best Actress winner-is such a wholly virtuosic display…” – Sam C. Mac, Slant
“Stewart”s performance is detailed and considered yet shiveringly natural: it might even be the minor-key equal of her César-winning work in Clouds of Sils Maria.” – Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
“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.” – Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian