Like an unassuming and subtler Birdman, Clouds of Sils Maria takes advantage of its actor protagonist Maria (Binoche) in order to probe a potential overlap between fiction and reality.
A dawdling pace briefly gives way to dynamic yet claustrophobic exchanges as Maria rehearses loaded dialogue with her PA (a transfixing Stewart). Although the trailer’s teasing editing strongly implied one scenario, Binoche and Stewart mine ambiguities from their roles to leave several questions unanswered.
Clouds of Sils Maria pertinently discusses the nature of interpreting art, but its tedious attention to paparazzi-plagued celebrities is shallower and skews its already meandering trajectory.
Assayas’ characterisation is a goldmine for the three versatile actresses, each of whom excels at conveying multiple personas. Yet Clouds peaks too soon and is overstuffed with half-baked commentary.
CAST: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, Chloё Grace Moretz
DIRECTOR: Olivier Assayas
WRITER: Olivier Assayas
SYNOPSIS: A veteran actress (Binoche) wrestles with the past after agreeing to take part in a revival of the play that launched her career 20 years earlier.