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Writer/director Olivier Assayas, aided by gifted actors depicts and ode to “ageing”, a commentary on contemporary interpretations of past and present “characterizations”; how time changes one’s outlook;  it is a play within a play and as much as I yearned to like it found the protagonists tiring, familiar and uninteresting.

“Maria” (flawless Juliette Binoche) is asked to star in a remake of a play that ignited her celestial rise to fame; but in this instance she is no longer the manipulative ingénue, but the manipulated older woman; extremely problematic for Maria,  she intensely dislikes the character, regrets the waning of time and youth; valiantly strives to arrest its insidious process.

Maria engages her assistant “Valentine” (intriguing Kristen Stewart) in rehearsing the part; scenes, fraught with myriad levels of emotional complexities, vacillating between fiction and reality, boundaries bleeding into each other, lacerating the employer/employee balance; challenging their inner core, disturbing, unresolved issues; existing in a destructive bubble of their own creation.

“Clouds of Sils Maria” attacks the heartless callousness,  blind egocentrisms of the young and talented; Chloe Grace Moretz is the luminous metaphor of a stellar supernova, unaware of its ephemeral curse. The ubiquitous theme of fleeting fame; lack of definition between the individual and the actor; horror of all birthday’s beyond forty is perpetually stale.

“Clouds of Sils Maria” is testament that “all the world’s a stage” unfortunately, the players “exit” did not come soon enough.

TWO & 1/2 STARS!!


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