Clouds of Sils Maria

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Because of her past choices, it is easy to forget that Stewart (Still Alice) can actually act. In fact, she and Binoche (Words and Pictures) were multiply nominated for their roles in this film, with good reason. This is an intensely personal and fascinating story, carried almost entirely by the two of them, the landscape, and the phenomena for which the story was named. It has an intentional stage play-like intensity, which writer/director Assayas (Paris, je taime) uses to mirror the literal plot of the movie.  The layers are hypnotic and the results surprising.

Breaking the private world of the two women, Moretz (Laggies) enters the fray as an enfant terrible and the embodiment of other ideas in discussion. In reality, and by necessity, Moretz is massively outclassed by the other women but delivers her role as intended. She has more depth than she is allowed to exercise in this film, but still has some nice moments.

There were two side aspects to the story that were fun for me. In a small role, Flynn (Scrotal Recall) shows up as a nice foil for Moretz and the tale. And the tale itself revolves a bit around the filming of the Marvel universe (X-Men in particular), which was a riot to see the evening after watching Ant-Man and which added some nice resonance.

I can’t say the movie felt entirely complete to me, the end drifted off in a bit of a rush and without a lot of satisfaction, though all within the framework we were provided. But the ride to the end was worth seeing, even if I was left with some questions and a bit of hunger for more.

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