Clouds of Sils Maria Review: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart Star

April 10, 2015 1:00 PM

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Clouds of Sils Maria Review: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart Star

Welcome to All About Eve, transported by writer-director Olivier Assayas to the Swiss Alps. In Joseph Mankiewicz’s Oscar-winner from 1950, Bette Davis was the aging actress, Anne Baxter the ingenue eager to steal her idol’s star luster. In Assayas’ intimate, occasionally poignant Clouds of Sils Maria, Maria Enders (Juliette Binoche) is the modern Bette Davis. She’s a middle-aged actress who won renown at 18 as the scheming young Sigrid in the play Maloja Snake, and who is now asked to take the role of Helena, the older victim, in that play’s revival. Sigrid is to be played by Jo Ann Ellis (Chloë Grace Moretz), a teen sensation with a scandalous rep. To prepare for a part that forces her to acknowledge her vanished youth, Maria rehearses with her assistant Val (Kristen Stewart).

Which young woman is Eve? Both Val and Jo Ann carry themselves with a precocious poise that, in Maria, has curdled into self-doubt. She knows that stars shine brightest when they are new. In truth, neither of the younger women wants to be Maria. Jo Ann is perfectly content being smarter than the rec...

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