If you asked me to guess what the plot of a film called Personal Shopper, based entirely on the name, I'd likely venture that it's a light romantic comedy. Maybe one in which the main character moves to the big city and snags her dream job as, well, a personal shopper at a storied department store. Then, as a junior member of the team she's tasked with taking on the store's most notoriously difficult client: a rich, young and vain businessman with a rude temperament and horrible taste. After a rocky meet, the two start to develop chemistry. Think of the possibility of all the mounting sexual tension in fitting room scene! There's flirtation, character growth, some sort of montage set to Beyoncé's "Upgrade U," a scene where the two spend Thanksgiving volunteering a soup kitchen (because the businessman's family all canceled. "Ah that's the way he's the way he is," that audience thinks.) Then after some complications like the sudden reemergence of an ex-girlfriend, the businessman proposes to the personal shopper at the end. She says, "Yes, but only if you get someone else to help you pick out the tuxedo," and everyone laughs and it fads to black while Madonna's "Dress You Up in My Love" plays over the credits.
That is, basically, what I assume a film called Personal Shopper would be about.
Tell me it stars Kristen Stewart and I'd think, "Hmmm, she doesn't seem quite right for that kind of part."
Tell me it's directed by French auteur Olivier Assayas, a master of artsy thrillers like Carlos and Irma Vep, and I'd be like, "Well, clearly everything I assumed based on the name of the film alone is completely and totally incorrect."
And it was. While Kristen Stewart's character has, indeed, moved to a big city (Paris) and she does have a job in fashion as an actual personal shopper, after that, well, things start taking weird twists. Watch the first American trailer below.
Yes, it's a ghost story. A personal shopper who talks to a ghost. The ghost of her deceased twin brother, in fact.
Reviewers who saw the film when it debuted at Cannes say it's really more about a ghost story as a way to explore loss and grief.
An earlier international trailer rounds out a few more details. Like the fact that our personal shopper actually hates her job as a personal shopper.
I'm really beginning to question why this movie is called Personal Shopper, or if the characters job has anything to do with the main plot at all. Is, say, a Starbucks barista not able to explore grief by talking to her brother's death in a strange house?
Oh well, American audiences won't get a chance to figure that out until the film debuts in March 2017.