Another critical success, Clouds is rated higher by the professionals than by the audience/mob. It also has a lot going for it, but with several quiet spots.
This film is non-traditional, very daring in its unorthodox approach. It’s difficult to decipher what it’s about or where it’s going. It concerns three female characters, and it is structured loosely around a play within a film, sort of like Birdman. But whereas Birdman was a masculine, adrenalyn-pumped narrative, Clouds of Sils Maria is the feminine response.
What strengthens the story is the multi-layered approach given to the play’s themes. These are echoed in the real world. The play concerns an aging CEO who falls for a hot young office temp, only to have her heart broken. The aging actress who is to play the aging CEO has a relationship with her own personal assistant (Kristen Stewart) that may or may not go down a similar path. As the two run lines and friction builds between them the parallels become apparent.
What’s more, the actress: Juliette Binoche, had already played the younger seductress role twenty years prior, and now she is cast to play the opposite role. This chronological demarcation acts like a cleaver through her mind, chopping her younger self from her older reality.
Given these layers, the fragility of the women, and the attention paid to acting and character development, this film is definitely one to catch.