Clouds of Sils Maria by Olivier Assayas
I absolutely ADORED this movie. I never really expected to enjoy this so much but I really did. Although the plot may be simple enough, a middle aged actress named Maria Enders (portrayed by Juliette Binoche) comes back into the foray by playing the older lover (Helena) in a lesbian drama (Maloja Snake) wherein back in the day she played the younger lover (Sigrid) who will now be played by the troubled and scandalous young actress Jo-Ann Ellis (portrayed by Chloe Grace Moretz), there was so much more to the story that went beyond. Out of all the very dramatic and somber toned movies that we watched, I think I enjoyed Clouds of Sils Maria the most.
Watching the relationship of Maria and her assistant Valentine (portrayed by Kristen Stewart) unfurl made the movie worthwhile for me. The tension albeit sometimes sexual was evident and there were many times that I wanted to scream at the both of them to just kiss or do anything to confess what was really going on between them. As Maria was preparing for the role she would often ask Valentine to help read lines with her but then all of a sudden it felt as if both the things they were saying as mere characters of the play and their true selves as actress and assistant started to blur together. It was obvious from the beginning that Maria did not want to play the cynical, old lover that was Helena because she could not let go of herself as Sigrid who is young and more full of life. Yet Valentine tries to help her see past that because change is inevitable and something that should be embraced. After all the tension which broke into a huge fight ending on the mountains towards Maloja’s Pass to see the snake like clouds pass between the mountains. Valentine disappears and is never heard of in the movie again. The scene after there huge fight wherein the movie beautifully showcases the passing of the clouds and the beauty of it all was absolutely breath taking. The story then jumps to the nearing of the play wherein somehow Maria has realized that change is inevitable even if she was still somewhat stubborn about it in trying to change Jo-Ann’s acting technique. Yet it was so subtle, the change in Maria herself but it was there.
In the end, I highly recommend the film as it tells the story of these women and change so elegantly and all in all it was just so classy to me for some reason in the best way. Juliette Binoche played the character so well, making you sympathize and root for her all the way and I hope to watch more of her films in the future. Shockingly enough as well I did not know Kristen Stewart could play a role as well as this since I’m coming from someone who did not enjoy the Twilight saga movies. With that aside, I loved this movie a whole lot and will definitely suggest this to my other cinephile friends.