Clouds of Sils Maria

Clouds of Sils Maria Image
Metascore
78

Generally favorable reviews - based on 41 Critics What's this?

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7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 63 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: At the peak of her international career, Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous twenty years ago. But back then she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young girl who disarms and eventually drives her boss Helena to suicide. NowAt the peak of her international career, Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is asked to perform in a revival of the play that made her famous twenty years ago. But back then she played the role of Sigrid, an alluring young girl who disarms and eventually drives her boss Helena to suicide. Now she is being asked to step into the other role, that of the older Helena. She departs with her assistant (Kristen Stewart) to rehearse in Sils Maria; a remote region of the Alps. A young Hollywood starlet with a penchant for scandal (Chloë Grace Moretz) is to take on the role of Sigrid, and Maria finds herself on the other side of the mirror, face to face with an ambiguously charming woman who is, in essence, an unsettling reflection of herself. Expand

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 36 out of 41
  2. Negative: 1 out of 41
  1. Reviewed by: David Ehrlich
    Apr 8, 2015
    100
    It’s a sexy concept that will thrill Assayas neophytes, but the director’s longtime fans will find its pleasures virtually pornographic.
  2. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Apr 9, 2015
    90
    The three women in Clouds of Sils Maria love, talk and move, move, move, sharing lives, trading roles and performing parts. The lives they lead are messy and indeterminate, but each woman’s life belongs to her.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    Apr 16, 2015
    88
    A meditation on fame, acting, aging, and acceptance, “Clouds” is a multilayered rapture on the subject of woman, performing. Not only does the film demand repeat viewings, it rewards them.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Bradshaw
    May 25, 2014
    80
    If Assayas's film finally falls just shy of being great art itself, it is at least handsomely staged and played with conviction.
  5. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Apr 16, 2015
    75
    It’s not a combination most of us would’ve thought of, but Stewart and Binoche bring out the best in each other.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Apr 9, 2015
    70
    Clouds Of Sils Maria. swirls with provocative ideas, but they’re talked about more than dramatized
  7. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Apr 8, 2015
    25
    A backstage drama that has all the sizzle of a glass of water resting on the windowsill, Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria mistakes lack of dramatic imagination for smoldering subtlety.

See all 41 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 16
  2. Negative: 2 out of 16
  1. Dec 27, 2015
    10
    A haunting film by Olivier Assayas about art, time, and irony. An actress who made her name playing the younger woman in a play about theA haunting film by Olivier Assayas about art, time, and irony. An actress who made her name playing the younger woman in a play about the relationship of two woman (one younger and one older) is asked many years later to play the older woman. She hesitates but finally agrees and then ironically has an even greater success as the older woman. The film follows the actress, played magnificently by Juliette Binoche as she hesitates and then prepares for the new production, and Assayas manages to mix the actress’s feelings with the text of the play so that you never quite know if the actress or her character in the play is speaking. The supporting cast members, especially Kristen Stewart, are also superb. Expand
  2. Jul 28, 2015
    9
    This is the third movie I’ve seen from Assayas, following "Irma Vep" (1996), which I hated, and "Summer Hours" (2008), an improvement.This is the third movie I’ve seen from Assayas, following "Irma Vep" (1996), which I hated, and "Summer Hours" (2008), an improvement. "Clouds" is easily, in my estimation, the most accomplished of the three. But then, this film is of a type I often like a lot—an intellectual challenge that does not forget that the viewer has a heart as well as a brain. The challenge arises from the fact that so many of the film’s lines are the play’s, being rehearsed by the actress and her assistant in readings that test their own relationship. Assayas uses music, mostly classical, the clouds of the film’s title, and his weighty lines spoken by his talented actresses (particularly Binoche) to create a dream-like film arcing from one revelatory scene to another. Some will find it too talky or esoteric, but I didn’t see these as problems. Expand
  3. Mar 29, 2016
    8
    Clouds of Sils Maria is a very good film from Olivier Assayas with fantastic acting, a compelling story, and beautiful cinematography.Clouds of Sils Maria is a very good film from Olivier Assayas with fantastic acting, a compelling story, and beautiful cinematography. Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, and Chloe Grace Moretz, are all phenomenal here and turn in great performances. Stewart was my personal favorite, though the against type performance from Moretz was really interesting and well done. The story is very dense, but can be boiled down to being about an aging woman having a relationship with a younger woman, after having the shoe be on the other foot when she was younger. Now that she is older, she struggles to grapple with this age and the shoe being on the other foot, due to her own approach to the relationship when she was younger. In this way, the film is a compelling look at aging, both on stage and in life, and at relationships of all kinds. Finally, the cinematography is fantastic. The film has repeated gratuitous shots of landscapes in the Swiss alps and thank God for that because is pure eye candy. The cinematography in non-landscape scenes is also great though and that point cannot be understated. Clouds of Sils Maria is a great little film that really deserves more attention from film lovers due its well-written and well-directed approach to its subjects. Expand
  4. Apr 10, 2015
    7
    Clouds of Sils Maria has finally received a much belated release after premiering at Cannes nearly a year ago. For this cinephile, it wasClouds of Sils Maria has finally received a much belated release after premiering at Cannes nearly a year ago. For this cinephile, it was worth the wait. This is a work abundant with engaging, legitimately stimulating discussions on the medium of acting made so by their depth of understanding of the craft, emotional honesty, and eerie, meta-nature in the context of the story. Clouds of Sils Maria is a movie-about-movies simultaneously self-aware and yet pitched so realistically devoid of false self-importance that it stands above other Hollywood-centered works (Maps to the Stars, to name one recent effort), putting commentary as it's prime focus, rather than succumbing to a winking, surface-level vanity project.

    The pacing is sluggish at times and the narrative has it's passages of arid aimlessness, but the dialogue, delivered with multi-faceted gravitas by the central three actresses (Stewart in particular strikes a nerve) never ceases to provoke thought. Assayas never opts a declaration of any outright theme, yet provides enough fervent discussion for the audience to come to conclusions of their own regarding any wholesome statement. To me, the meaning of Clouds of Sils Maria comes in small doses, during the conversations between Stewart and Binoche or their walks over the scenic mountain range, rather than any obvious cumulative final act. The ending leaves the viewer at somewhat of a loss if they are looking for narrative finality, but this isn't a bad thing; this is a film driven not by it's plot so much as it's ideas.

    Some of the things that linger with me most in Clouds of Sils Maria is the metaphorical interconnectedness of the characters, and what, if any, legitimate significance it has. Binoche occasionally mirrors the character she is portraying on stage and Stewart, as her assistant, often resembles many of the qualities of the assistant to her character in the play, blurring the line between reality and rehearsal, as the two will often fade in and out of line readings into actual dialogue. There are so many similar instances of strange, almost cryptic synchronicity: Binoche's divorce and Moretz leading to the divorce of her author boyfriend, Binoche's character's arc ending in a disappearance in the mountains and the same fate befalling Stewart, etc.

    I do have a gripe with that final exit of Stewart's, by the way. She is, in my mind, the most surprisingly thoughtful, vanity-free portrayal in the film and her character's arc ends on a bizarrely ambiguous decrescendo. It is a conclusion that feels muted and unceremonious for her, leaving the third-act devoid of the same level of titillating banter that elevated Clouds of Sils Maria to such highs before.

    Repeated viewings may yield more of a wholesome takeaway; I'd certainly recommend seeing it again for clarity regardless of it's slow pace and less than climactic delivery. Binoche is perfect here, a performance testament to her devotion to the craft of acting in defiance of ageism. Moretz is also worth note, a role that, minus the behind-the-camera melodrama that befalls her character, is a fitting mirror to the youthful, ambitious image she has crafted for herself in such a short span of time. However, it is Stewart, who exudes such a naturalism and fidgety authenticity, that really steals the show. This is a performance so devoid of the cloying Hollywood performances she's given as of recent, that it is, frankly, shocking, and it should go down as a highlight of her career. And, hey, the movie she's in is on par to boot.
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  5. Apr 19, 2015
    7
    "Clouds of Sils Maria" is a French made film (with total English dialogue) starring Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz."Clouds of Sils Maria" is a French made film (with total English dialogue) starring Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Grace Moretz. The film was written and directed by Olivier Assayas and, perhaps, there lies the problem. This a movie showcasing the superb talents of Ms. Binoche and the surprising versatility of Ms. Stewart (who won the French equivalent of our Oscar, i.e. the Cesar, for her performance. Unfortunately, that is where the accolades must end for the writer-director, although attempting to script a clever story of the trials and tribulations of an aging actress faced with her own professional mortality, forgot how to edit and tie each chapter of the film into a cohesive easy to follow tale. The movie has more unresolved issues and loose ends than a mutant octupus. Adding to the confusion is the fact that this basically three person film is over 2 hours in length which only makes what might have been tolerable in a shorter version uncomfortable to watch in the one it is in. If ratings were based on performances alone, the film which generate a much higher number but, as a total theatrical experience, I can only award it a 7. "All About Eve" said it better and in a much shorter period of time. Expand
  6. Apr 18, 2015
    4
    Despite terrific performances by Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart, as well as some gorgeous cinematography, this talky, pretentious,Despite terrific performances by Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart, as well as some gorgeous cinematography, this talky, pretentious, overrated exercise in self-importance never gets off the ground nor sustains its momentum. Tossing together a collection of pithy insights into a single vehicle and hoping the finished product makes sense is no way to craft a film. Save your time and money. Expand
  7. May 3, 2015
    0
    As with other films that have relied on the audiences' imagination to move the story forward (Boyhood) where in fact there is none or in thisAs with other films that have relied on the audiences' imagination to move the story forward (Boyhood) where in fact there is none or in this case a missed opportunity, I would like to point to the core problem that the filmmakers are trying to conceal. Primarily limited to bad acting in favor of marketability. I am always suspicious of actors when they wear glasses. They are using a prop not to intelligently enhance their chearcter but rather to hide their own deficiencies. I fully understand the intent of the Olivier's script, But boy what a shock it must have been when he realized that Kristin does not have the wherewithall to carry the emotional/psychological weight of her character. Poor Juilette was left stranded on her own with noone to play against. The script was screaming for the supporting actress to carry the story through facial and bodily expressions. Those attempts of outbursts by Kristin were ingenuous and I could see the struggle in the editing room to help cover up her flaws.... And what the hell were those underpants and black bra???? If anyone should have been naked in that scene it was Kristin!!! (a further indicator of how limited her acting education is). I can feel your pain Olivier. Better try next time ... keep away from star **** a little bit and maybe you will have a more satisfying result. Expand

See all 16 User Reviews

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