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Film Reviews Clouds of Sils Maria: A clever, humane film with historical undertones

Juliette Binoche in Clouds of Sils Maria

3 out of 4 stars

Title
Clouds of Sils Maria
Written by
Olivier Assayas
Directed by
Olivier Assayas
Starring
Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart
Classification
PG
Country
USA
Language
English

The French director Olivier Assayas always makes heady, clever films, and Clouds of Sils Maria is no exception. It's a story of a veteran actress (Juliette Binoche) hesitantly tackling the prestigious stage play that first made her famous – except now in the role of the older woman – and is complexly conceived and rife with metaphors and allusions to the history of theatre and cinema. Lest that make the film sound forbidding, it's also funny and humane, especially Kristen Stewart as Binoche's opinionated assistant, who stumps for the teen-centric pop culture her employer disdains. The character's advocacy on behalf of multiplex blockbusters is especially endearing considering Stewart's own résumé – it's a wonderfully accomplished and cathartic performance.

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