Sunday, May 17, 2015

Clouds of Sils Maria

Women rarely get the screentime they deserve in films nowadays. And if they do get screentime, there's a strong likelihood that they'll be objectified at some point. It's practically a bloody miracle when an actress gets a role with some meat on it.

This is why Olivier Assayas' Clouds of Sils Maria is such a miracle. It contains roles that easily could've been played by men but does Assayas stoop to that patriarchal level? Thankfully no. (This is something more filmmakers should adhere to: writing roles that are gender blind.)

Much like All About Eve and Opening Night, Clouds of Sils Maria focuses on an actress and her fear of aging as she prepares for a new stage role. By no means does Juliette Binoche's Maria Enders face a crisis as severe as Bette Davis' Margo Channing or Gena Rowlands' Myrtle Gordon did but it's just as emotionally crippling. (Which raises a good question: why are women always fearing aging throughout fiction more than men?)

And Clouds of Sils Maria has what most mainstream films are sorely lacking: well-rounded women. Chloe Grace Moretz finally receives a role that's more mature than her other recent fare. Kristen Stewart continues to prove that there's more to her than Twilight. (Thank God.) But the star is easily Binoche. (Isn't that the case with most of the films she's in?)

Clouds of Sils Maria is very good but something about it feels forced. Still, the work from Assayas and the three principal actresses is very good and worth a look.

My Rating: ****1/2

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