Clouds of Sils Maria

Metascore
78

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

User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 36 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. 90
    Assayas’s pace is easy, his structure linear: no tricky flashbacks, no jagged cuts. There’s so little in the way of histrionics that it’s hard to put one’s finger on why the film is so terrifically intense — except that each actress is, in her own peculiar way, preternaturally high-strung, able to convey momentous emotional stakes without raising her voice above the pitch of conversation.
  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: 9 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14
  1. May 26, 2015
    10
    Terrible title, but a riveting mirror on the times in which we live... Binoche's mania is magnificent, as always. (Damn, she`s hot.)Terrible title, but a riveting mirror on the times in which we live... Binoche's mania is magnificent, as always. (Damn, she`s hot.) Watching the film is like watching a news report of a train wreak; you want to avert your eyes, but the curiosity of human nature pulls you in to take a closer look and find out what's really happening. An artistic film with multiple layers of complexity commentary on women and aging in our technology driven media. (See Maggie Gyllenhaal's recent media response). Post-processing the film with my lesbian partner over dinner in West Portal was in some ways more enjoyable than watching the film as the Jungian style story line teases and frustrates. But a film is art and shouldn't always please. Essentially a masterpiece - talented acting, an intricate maze of a story and intense mythic imagery. A classic on par with Elia Kazan's A Face in the Crowd. See this film now or after award season; eventually you must see this film. All I can say is: More, more, more! 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. May 25, 2015
    8
    The most unlikely bond between Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart is captivating and beautiful. Binoche proves her gifted presence whileThe most unlikely bond between Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart is captivating and beautiful. Binoche proves her gifted presence while Stewart continues to redeem any diminished talent. The parallels within the film are plentiful--the results are overwhelming. 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 13, 2015
    7
    A movie trapped in the past about not being trapped in the past, CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA is one more mixed bag of pretension from OlivierA movie trapped in the past about not being trapped in the past, CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA is one more mixed bag of pretension from Olivier Assayas. The ideas are there, the depth, the themes but the execution once again fails. Kristen Stewart, however, is a revelation! She gets it, breaking through the pretense to explore the depths only imagined by the rest of this film. Her shifts from "reality" to "acting" are quite frankly, awesome and amazing. And exactly what CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA is all about. Expand
  6. Apr 20, 2015
    6
    This is one of those movies that critics are crazy about but regular audience yawns‎.
    Masterfully done and acted, (Juliette Binoche and
    This is one of those movies that critics are crazy about but regular audience yawns‎.
    Masterfully done and acted, (Juliette Binoche and Kristen Stewart are starring there, and they are great), the movie is too long, full of cliches and lacks novelty. It does have a few interesting ideas and twists but not nearly enough for more than two hours. Nevertheless, in recognition of great performances of both leads and superb cinematography, I am giving this movie a “6”.
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  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 14 User Reviews

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