The Ending of Kristen Stewart's Personal Shopper Movie Explained
Personal Shopper is a moody paranormal thriller that breaks every mold ever created. It is it's own thing, with an ending that leave you wondering what just happened. IMDB
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Kristen Stewart is the surprising new upstart in my life of late. And I refuse, completely refuse, to take any grief about it. Her acting in Olivier Assayas’ movie The Clouds of Sils Maria was absolutely gobsmackingly good. Everything about Sils Maria surprised and startled me with just how good it was on every level. The story, the acting, the screenplay… just so good. And now, Olivier Assayas is bringing us another stunning movie with Kristen Stewart and I would argue that their sophomore effort is even better than their freshman home run. I will say this, that this movie isn’t going to be for everyone. And I want this to be clear, if you watch this movie, and decide it isn’t for you, then, please just let me know so I can remove you from my will. And after I remove you from my will, I will then remove you from my best friend list…

But why? Why would I watch a movie about a personal shopper for the love of all that’s good and holy? That sounds like the worst possible idea for a movie ever. I mean shopping? I’d rather have teeth pulled without Novocain. I mean really??!

Stop.

This movie is a paranormal thriller for thinkers. And it’s a mind job at that. So, basically, because you are here – and that is what this site is all about – I really think the odds of your totally digging this movie are pretty high. Now, granted, I’d argue that about 30% of you didn’t get into Sils Maria, so I don’t know. But again… just don’t tell me if you don’t like it. TTTSSSSS! Stop. Don’t do it. I’ll ban you from the site. You think I’m kidding?!? hahaha.

Quick Spoiler Free Personal Shopper Overview

So, if you haven’t seen the film yet, the quick zero spoiler overview is that Maureen Cartwright is waiting. Her brother Lewis has recently passed away in the last couple months. And Maureen is waiting for a sign. Why? Because before he died, they promised to send each other a sign. Because Lewis? He was a medium… or likened himself to spiritualist of sorts anyway. So this whole movie is really about Maureen and her desire to hear from her brother from beyond. Obviously, this is just a super high level overview, but it is this strong strong desire to hear from the other side that sends Maureen into a tailspin. And it is deep into the bowels of this chaos that Kristen Stewart just shined.

Personal Shopper In Depth Discussion

So this is where I plan to dive super deep on this fantastic movie. I’ve already assumed I’ve sold you on watching the film. I mean, really? That was a seriously good pitch up there. Go watch it… bookmark this page, and then come back. K? Great. So now that we have the Personal Shopper novices out of the room, let’s delve to the brass tacks. Roll up your sleeves, cause dangit if we don’t have a ton of work to do with this little flick.

The movie starts out with Maureen getting dropped off at a big big old house in the suburbs of Paris. The gal driving Maureen (Kristen) out to the house doesn’t stay. Not only that, she makes a beeline out of there, like pronto. Eh?! What is going on here? And Maureen wanders about the empty house a bit. Why? What is Maureen doing there? And then she starts to hear noises in the creaky clackity place. And it one of my favorite moments in the entire movie, there’s a smear in the air, almost unnoticeable. And some sound? And Maureen can obviously feel the presence. But then that is it.

What is happening here?

Well, as we backtrack through the movie we realize that Maureen’s twin brother, Lewis, had a congenital heart condition that she also has. And in a fluke, freak accident, he has a massive heart attack, and dies. But before Lewis died he had made a pact with his twin that if either of them die that the other would try to communicate to the surviving twin. Right? So, Maureen is caught doing this personal shopping gig for a high profile celebrity. A job that she absolutely abhors. But here she is, waiting in Paris for her brother to reach out and communicate with her. Well, in order to give Lewis another shot, Maureen heads back to the house one more time. But this time, while curled up on the floor, she’s awakened by an apparition that vomits something and basically freaks her out to high heaven. Right? The spirit slashes her artwork and the table. And like a jack rabbit, Maureen boogies it out of there.

So what do we know at this point? Well, in Olivier Assayas’ world of the Personal Shopper, we know for a fact that ghosts exist. This isn’t a question. (Or is it… we’ll get to variations of theories at the bottom of this post…) We see Lewis(?), we see floating glasses get dropped and break, we see phantasms, we are told very clearly that ghosts exist in this world. Right? But this isn’t a standard ghost thriller, or even a horror flick. Nothing about Personal Shopper fits into a clearly identifiable film category. (Which is why this movie is so so good.) The deeper you dive into this movie the more lost you will get. I know, because I’ve already watched it twice and sketched possible solutions to the various details and possibilities and I am only getting more confused the deeper I go!

Our other important thread to track as this movie goes is that of the World of Kyra – the model and personal shopping boss. Apparently Kyra is narcissistic selfish scion of our new social media world. And she is important, and knows it. And although Maureen hates her job she stays because she is just waiting for Lewis. No other reason. And it is during one visit to Kyra’s apartment that she meets a German named Ingo. Now Ingo is a speed bump in this world of the Personal Shopper because most of the movie happens with Kristen Stewart by herself. And it is this aloneness that makes the movie soar. And it is when she crashes into a few of these other characters that occasionally inhabit the movie with her that we realize just how bereft of characters this movie really is.

Ingo, back to our Ingo character. Right. We learn very quickly that Ingo is waiting to talk to Kyra because she wants to break up with him. But you know what? He’s not really keen on being broken up with after two years. And yet, he doesn’t love her… Ok. So in one thread we have a relationship that Maureen is having with the spirit world. And in the other we have Kyra and this dysfunctional relationship that she is having both with Maureen and also Ingo the boyfriend. Got it.

And soon after this meeting in Kyra’s apartment Maureen starts getting texts from an unidentified person. Huh. And at first, they are playful. Lighthearted banter type texts. And then very very quickly Maureen starts to wonder, out loud even, about whether or not they are coming from Lewis. So Maureen shows all her cards very early on by asking if this is Lewis. And yet, in the background, the texter tells her nothing. They just continue their playful inquiry and intriguing questions. And yet, the person on the other side of the text knows a whole lot about Maureen. That she’s going to England. That she back in Paris. What she is doing where. They even push her to do things that cause her fear and worry.

Can I stop here a moment and point something out? Kristen Stewart’s main co-star on this film was an iPhone. Did you realize this? No one else holds a candle to the amount of air time given to her iPhone. Which was really really innovative. The conversations she had through her phone that came and went and came back again were really really riveting. Like surprisingly so. And in the back of my mind I was like – I have seen this played out before… when?!? And that was when I realized that there was a short film that I adored a couple years ago called Green Dot. I enjoyed it so much I met with Alex Mann, the creator of Green Dot and interviewed him. It is so relevant, I figured, heck, let’s drop the short film here and you can tell me if it isn’t relevant:

No? Come on. Ok so, yes, you are welcome. You are too kind. No really, stop. I even reached out to the creator of Green Dot Alex Mann to get his thoughts on Personal Shopper, but he hasn’t seen it yet. But that will be interesting once he does see it.

Anyway… the question on our hands right now is, WHO IS TEXTING MAUREEN? Is it Lewis? Or is it Kyra maybe? Though the odds of her coming out of her myopic selfishness for even a millisecond is near nil. If it’s not Lewis? So yeah, it’s got to be Ingo. I mean, we haven’t been introduced to too many other characters. So if it’s Ingo… what the heck? What is he up to?

Olivier Assayas then brings us in close and just right hooks us. I mean, up until this point we have a subtle thriller with some ghost undertones happening. But then, Maureen returns from shopping in London to return a few things to her ever-the-psycho boss Kyra, and Maureen finds her dead. Violently killed, and laying in a pile of blood. WAIT WHAT?! This was a sedate, even pastoral, investigation into a woman’s mental health and the next thing I know we just wandered off reservation into slasher film? Was this the ghost that did this? Was it Maureen actually? What is happening here? And to make matters worse, Maureen is seeing throbbing and pulsing lights at the end of the hallway. And so Maureen runs for it.

One of the interesting reactions that I had was to immediately yell at the screen – DO NOT RUN! CALL THE POLICE! In any other movie I would have rooted for her to run. But because this movie is so realistic. So grounded in reality (even with the ghost bits) that I knew where this was going to go if she did run. And sure enough, Maureen is questioned by the police for her running. And when the expensive Cartier jewelry goes missing and Maureen finds the jewels in her apartment, Maureen immediately knows she has a massive massive problem on her hands.

And then, in one of the most dramatic segments of the movie, Maureen turns her phone on and she starts getting pummeled by text messages from her secret text intruder. And as they get more and more urgent the person begins to say things like, “ANSWER ME NOW OR I’M COMING.” “I’M HEADING THERE NOW.” “I’M STANDING OUTSIDE”… which gave me a chill running up my spine like no standard horror movie could ever accomplish. It was so fantastically well played.

So under the door she gets a message telling her to go to the hotel. But when she get there she finds nothing. And this is important. After Maureen leaves, we watch as no one leaves as well. We see the elevator open and no one get out. We see the front door of the hotel open, and the second door open, and then both close… suggesting someone else also left, but that person could not be seen. It was as if a ghost left the hotel too. Then after Lewis(?) leaves the hotel, we watch as Ingo arrives and also leaves. And as he walks out he runs into two cops and he begins shooting.

So now we know. Ingo was the iPhone Stalker. Ingo was the killer. And Ingo is now in jail… which leaves Maureen free from the obvious framing Ingo was conspiring against her. Right?

Personal Shopper Ending Overview

Which brings us to the ending that totally blew your mind. Right? Maureen heads to visit Lewis’ partner, who is now dating someone else. Right? And the two of them chat. Then when he leaves, Maureen is staring off into the distance when we see a guy looking out the window of the kitchen and then he drops a glass on the kitchen floor. This is presumably Lewis. And he is supposedly communicating with Maureen. But she is none the wiser. And with that Maureen heads off to Oman to visit her boyfriend friend guy thing. And as soon as she arrives she encounters a ghost who begins banging and trying to communicate with her via yes/no question answer type interactions. And so Maureen asks:

  1. Is it Lewis? 1 knock
  2. Are you at peace? Nothing
  3. Do you mean harm? Maybe knock?
  4. Is this coming from me? Knock

End Of Line.

WHAT? What did we just experience? And what does it mean? Well, I have a couple of theories that might fit. And I think we probably go through them in order to come to the most likely scenario that might explain what we just witnessed.

Personal Shopper Movie Theories –

There are a wide range of possibilities here. She could be insane. She could be dead. She could just be imagining things. Or should could be dealing with trauma from the death of a loved one. PTSD of sorts. Right? It could be anything really! But which one is it really?

Personal Shopper Theory 1 – Maureen is Insane\Traumatized

This one is explained by simply reading the title. Everything we viewed in this movie was from her vantage and from her perspective. And oh, by the way, she is the least credible narrator the world has ever seen in this theory. In her delusional state she imagines the ghosts. She is delusional about the ghosts, the murder, everything. And this could be caused by the traumatic death of her brother recently. It could be stress induced by the fact that she too might die suddenly.

Personal Shopper Theory 1 Flaws –

We see very physical results of her interactions with ghosts. We see claw marks on the walls and on the desk and her drawings. We also see dropped glasses and real interactions with real objects on the part of the ghosts. Right? But this too could be delusions. And yet we step out of her perspective and see things that she does not see. So not all of it could be explained by her being delusional.

Personal Shopper Theory 2 – Maureen is Dead Sixth Sense Style

This theory doesn’t make total sense on first blush. So bear with me for a moment and you will see. Now, we know that Maureen couldn’t have been dead the entire movie because she spoke with people and interacted with others (though rarely) as the movie progressed. Right? So that can’t quite work. But what if she was murdered in the hotel room after she was given the message? What if instead it being Lewis’ spirit that leaves it was Maureen’s spirit that leaves instead? Follows her out? (ok, I’m laughing too at this. But shush.) and then as the movie ends its her interacting with the spiritual world as her initial vantage of what death is like.

Personal Shopper Theory 2 Flaws –

All of it. This theory is so bad I almost didn’t include it. She wasn’t in the room when Ingo was there. So who killed her? Also, why would this be true if we watch her leave physically and then the doors? Eh? Shouldn’t she blur or something to indicate death? Dumb.

Personal Shopper Theory 3 – The Tell Theory

Throughout the movie we see a theme. And that is of a person that is in pain, that is exuding tells. She is just emitting pain. And radiating obvious vulnerability after the death of her brother. And we know that at least one, none dead, person saw this and took advantage of it. And his name was Ingo. Ingo used the knowledge of Maureen and Lewis in order to use her. We know that Ingo was determined not to leave his relationship with Kyra.  So much so that he was going to kill her instead of being dumped. Ingo even used his knowledge of Maureen, and her frailty, and her desire to wear the clothes of her boss to his own advantage. So he kills Kyra. And then plants the Cartier jewelry at Maureen’s apartment. Right? We see this clearly.

But what if… now bear with me for a moment. What if, the spiritual world saw this too? What if Maureen was a novice spiritualist/medium. She even admitted that to us. Lewis was the real expert. And instead of it being Lewis that is communicating back with Maureen, what if it was just a spirit jacking Maureen around? When she was at the house initially, we don’t see Lewis. We see a female spirit vomiting. Right? We see a ghost communicating with Maureen but that was decidedly not Lewis.

Then we jump ahead to the end, we watch as a male spirit creepily walks through the kitchen, disappear, pick up a glass and drop it. Who’s to say that was Lewis? We never saw a picture of Lewis. And if you look through the entire list of actors, none of them are credited to a character named Lewis. None. So, whoever was in that kitchen… could be anyone. Could be a random ghost. Heck, it could have been a burglar with a fishing rod and fishing line messing with the glass! hahaha.

So now we head off to Oman. And we can reevaluate this experience with Maureen and this spirit. Instead of it being her brother finally communicated to her from the dead with distinct yeses and nos, instead we have a ghost that sees Maureen is searching for a spirit, and takes an opportunity to mess with her, just like Ingo did.

Personal Shopper Movie Final Thoughts

I actually really like the theory where Maureen dies in the hotel, but the timeline and the math just doesn’t add up. Can’t seem to make it work. And the movie doesn’t really even hint at that conclusion. I do think we are seeing malevolent spirits messing with Maureen in Ingo style and fashion. They know she’s vulnerable. They know she has been messing around in the spirit world. She’d be an easy mark. And voila.

I don’t know, what other theories do you guys have about this amazing movie? There have to be about a billion other ways to view this film.

Edited by, CY

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197 Responses

  1. Jon Whick

    Somebody came in the hotel room while she was there. The sound of the door opening and her looking, and then fade out.

    Reply
    • Floyd Swanson

      Exactly.

      Whomever wrote this review should try watching the correct film or buy a new prescription for their glasses and stay sober while watching the film.

      Horrible review.

      Reply
      • Taylor Holmes

        So explain it. Who walked in and why? Was it a human? A ghost? How do you reconcile someone walking in with her walking out with narry a mention or interaction? I saw it. I got it. And? Your take?

        I believe it was the same ghost trying to jack her around. That’s who I now think it was going into that room. But have only come to that conclusion after about a month of thought on pondering. What is your take on the door opening? As opposed to being rude, maybe you could offer us all your own perspective.

        But, you don’t have one. You came looking for a specific answer. And barring one, you are pissed off you didn’t get what you want… so you feel justified in your obuse. But no, I won’t have it. Just because you will never meet me, and just because you can remain anonymous doesn’t mean that gives you the right to 1. Not think 2. Be dismissive and abusive in your comments.

        I built this site to not provide you with answers, but to collaborate together towards a better understanding cooperatively.

      • Jared

        No, Taylor Holmes, you’re misremembering. As the others just mentioned, we see Maureen in the room, we hear the door open and close, she looks up, it fades to black. Then we witness the doors/elevator in the lobby opening and closing seemingly on their own. And then we see Ingo leave and get caught. *We never see Maureen leave*, so we actually have no idea if Ingo runs into her upstairs or what he did he if did run into her. The next time we see Maureen is when she meets her friend in the cafe.

      • Taylor Holmes

        What did I say that was incorrect? I am asking honestly. That she left? Sure. But she is next seen somewhere else. I was specifically referring to hearing the door open and close. Dammit. I’m going to have to watch this thing from stem to stern again.

      • Siji

        Exactly. I’ve seen two reviews and both people said that she left before ingo showed. That blatantly did not happen. She was in the hotel room and the door opens and then shuts. The next scene is the invisible person or whatever moving through the halls out of hotel. The theories don’t make sense. In fact theory two which the blogger was laughing at is the most plausible. She dies in that hotel room and she’s the one leaving the hotel. Or rather her spirit is.

    • F River

      Maureen is dead at the end:

      1. When Maureen is in the room, and after she drops the Cartier bags on the bed, she hears a noise from what seems to be the bathroom. There is no other scene of her walking out of the room only the “ghost” leaving

      2. Although Maureen is seen walking by the hotel after she leaves the room, she is not seen actually exiting the hotel door. Instead she walks pass and across the hotel entrance

      3. When Maureen came into the hotel she wore a leather jacket with a fur collar and was carrying her motorcycle helmet. It was daytime. Same outfit she wore to the cafe when she met her brother’s wife at night. However, Maureen’s outfit when she walks past the hotel entrance is the same outfit she wears in Oman

      4. There seems to be a constant theme with glasses. She goes to see her brother’s wife at the cafe and picks up a glass but does not drink. A ghost drops a glass in the house and in Oman. Was this Lewis? Was that the message she was waiting for?

      5. She switches her phone’s sim cards (at night) after seeing the note from Ingo (Obviously he put the note under the door because he was also at the hotel). Was she going to give the sim card to the police? Why switch the sim card now? How did the police know Ingo was at the hotel the next day? Why arrest him, if there is no concrete proof that ties him to the murder except for the sim card? She must have given the sim card to the police as proof and told them where he was going to be

      6. Is night time when Maureen meets her brother’s wife at the cafe. But, is daytime when she comes into the hotel and when Ingo is arrested. We also see the ghost leave the hotel during the day. This timeline does not make sense since she went to her brother’s wife house after their meeting at the cafe, enters the hotel in the same outfit but leaves the hotel in what she was wearing in Oman

      7. The conversation with the new boyfriend the next morning is strange. He seem to have some connection with Lewis. He also tells Maureen that after death your spirit hangs around for a while. Maureen is not imagining the ghost that dropped the glass because she cannot see what is behind. She only hears the glass fall down. If the boyfriend is telling her indirectly that she is dead? Is he also a ghost? There is a breeze after he leaves the table. Was she ever going to connect with Lewis while she was alive? Seems that now is easier

      My theory:

      Maureen is alive prior to going to the hotel room and gets killed by Ingo in the room.

      Maureen gets the note, realizes that Ingo is the one stalking her and panics. She changes the sim card and then goes to the police. She tells the police where he is going to be. The police tells her to bring the jewelry to the room or she decides to do that on her own. She has not mentioned the jewelry yet to the police since it was at her apartment. Perhaps now is the best time.

      Maureen meets her sister in law after she met the police. Maureen hesitates when asked whether she is all cleared of the murder and lies. Maureen goes to her brother’s wife house for the night and then goes to the hotel the next day. The proof is that she is waring the same outfit she wore in the cafe.

      The police did not know Ingo was hiding in the room already and could not prevent her murder. They were just waiting outside for him perhaps just to question him.

      Is clear that the police believe Maureen is innocent because they do not arrest her when she arrives or leaves the hotel (if you believe she is still alive).

      Although this means the scenes in the movie are not in chronological order, is the only way to explain the change in outfits and the fact that the police were only concerned with Ingo after the sim card was switched.

      Regardless, if you do not agree with my explanation, then you have to explain why she is seen with the Oman outfit after leaving the hotel and seen with the leather jacket when she goes to the cafe at night. That timeline is not chronological either.

      The boyfriend is a ghost or has physic powers. He indirectly tries to explain to Maureen that she is dead and lingering around in a in-between spiritual state. This explains why the boyfriend feels Lewis’ presence but does not see him. He knows he is there and seems to be looking in the general direction where he later appears.

      The ghost in the house is Lewis. This was his home and the ghost seems very comfortable picking up the glass. He is also looking at Maureen and after the boyfriend leaves. He is able to give her a sign by dropping the glass. Perhaps she was always picking up glasses and not drinking like she did in the cafe and that is why he uses that as a symbol.

      Maureen can not control or does not understand how to channel her physic capabilities. She sees a lot of static and cannot not get to Lewis directly. As such, they begin to connect after she is dead and in this in-between state. Now is easier for Lewis to give the sign and she can see it. In Oman, she appears to be transitioning further. Now she can see the glass floating. Now she able to communicate with spirits and now she can discern Lewis from the noise.

      Lewis or another spirit tells her that she is part of the spiritual world now.

      Reply
      • Skye

        3. When Maureen came into the hotel she wore a leather jacket with a fur collar and was carrying her motorcycle helmet. It was daytime. Same outfit she wore to the cafe when she met her brother’s wife at night. However, Maureen’s outfit when she walks past the hotel entrance is the same outfit she wears in Oman>>>>>>>

        I have now looked at the scene after the spirit/ghost/presence exits the hotel 6 times. I do not see anyone in white pants and grey shirt in front of crown royale hotel.
        Do you know the time stamp ?

      • Rob R.

        F. River – your points are well-taken and you’ve hit on some very insightful clues. Other posters have offered interesting theories as well, and in combination, a strong theory comes to light about the characters and plot.

        1) The film is shot from Maureen’s POV until she is killed by Ingo in the hotel room. This is the key for understanding the ending and the overall theme of the film.

        2) The police already know that Maureen has been using Kyra’s computer (when she slept at her apt.), so the police must also know about emails between Kyra and Ingo and their rocky physical relationship. This makes Ingo the prime suspect. Soon, Maureen receives Ingo’s text: “DID YOU TELL THEM ABOUT THE TEXTS?” So, Ingo is worried about his “pyscho” texting to Maureen, and therefore has a two motives to kill her: a) to destroy her phone, and 2) to stop her from testifying that Kyra had “dumped” him.

        3) When Maureen (in white dress) is waiting in the hotel room for Ingo – she’s working with the undercover police who are waiting outside the hotel to arrest Ingo for Kyra’s murder. Maureen feels uncomfortable while she’s waiting and texts the undercover police: “this is not me…I don’t know why I came, etc.” Next, there’s a series of bizarre texts from Ingo as he approaches the hotel room. Then, we hear (but, don’t see) him entering the room to kill her. Then, Ingo leaves the room and exits the hotel – and the undercover police are waiting to arrest him.

        4) The next scene is the proverbial “give away” that tells us: Maureen has been killed by Ongo, but her spirit is still walking around. This is made clear when the camera moves down the empty hotel hallway and all the paintings have become spiritual artwork by Klimt (as referred to earlier as an artist who channels the after-life). Then, the elevator door opens and closes for no one (Maureen’s spirit) and subsequently, the hotel doors open and close for no one (again, Maureen spirit).

        5) Following this storyline theory, the rest of the film unfolds as Maureen’s dream-like adjustment to the afterlife. This theory coincides with the two part “after-death” theory as taught by “Theosophy” (which is explained to Maureen along with info. about spirtual artist Klimt). Interestingly, Theosophy is still very popular in Paris, and it’s likely that director Assayas understands Theosophy’s ideas on “after-death states”(see definitions of: “Kama Loka” and “Devachan” below). So, following her death in the hotel room, Maureen enters this weird state of Theosopy’s “Kama-Loka” or Death Part 1.

        6) Next, the sister-in-law’s new boyfriend explains the process of death and encourages Maureen to let go of her grief, so she can move onto the next blissful state of “Devachan” or Death Part 2. He speaks like a spiritual guide trying to help her move on.

        7) In the final scene, Maureen finally understands that she’s creating her own dream-like reality, and most importantly, she becomes fully aware that she is the cause for the “bangs” in Oman. This realization finally sets her free from her oath with Lewis (as well as her grief), and now she’s able to move onto Death Part 2 and into the white light.

        With an understanding of Theosophy (which is rarely mentioned in films) – “Personal Shopper” is easy to decipher, brilliant and satisfying.

        “Kama loka” — or the place of desire — is the astral region penetrating and surrounding the earth. As a place it is on and in and about the earth. It is an astral sphere intermediate between earthly and heavenly life (Devachan). The soul may be detained in Kama loka by the enormous force of some unsatisfied desire, and cannot get rid of the astral and kamic clothing until that desire is satisfied by some one on earth or by the soul itself.

        “Devachan” — a Sanskrit word meaning literally “the place of the gods,” where the soul enjoys happiness; but as the gods have no such bodies as ours, the soul in Devachan is devoid of a mortal body. It’s a personalized version of heaven created by the Higher Self (see: “What Dreams May Come” with Robin Williams).

      • Mikell

        This was brilliantly done. At one point your brain jumps all around to who could be Kyra’s killer…was it Igor, was it Lewis’s wife and new bf…did they kill Lewis? Then it’s clear it Igor. When someone opens the hotel door and it fades out, allows you to know that someone is there to protect Maureen (and her journey) That the killer is not the purpose, but Maureen’s journey to her peace and herself. (She drinks the water, she changes her clothes, so I’m not sure about the others takes on those scenes. Irrelevant, really) My sense was that Igor made the noises and created the lights to scare her out of apartment (knowing about her questioning her Lewis’s gifts) to take jelwery to her apartment, trying to frame her. In the last scene when you see the glass you know it Lewis trying to communicate, as promised, as he tried at his wife’s’ place and Maureen missed it. (We miss a lot if we don’t pay attention, even things we’re looking for) She ask’s her questions, (one knock yes, two knocks no) Is this Lewis? Yes! Are you at peace? Yes! She says thank you. Then he exits and another energy comes through. She knows this, yet will continue to question her knowing and self to the very last knock/end of frame. Which she says, are you not at peace? Yes! Are you playing with me? No response. Do you mean harm? No! She says I don’t know you. No response. Who are you? No response. Lewis is it you? Lewis is it you? No response. Then she understands and makes final statement, Or is it just me.? Yes! A dialogue between Self and Soul. Her Soul knowing she’s yet to find her Peace….
        It’s her time to connect with her self, inner journey. Her Soul and self will only gain Peace once that journey begins.

      • Holly

        Ok, but when she arrives in Oman her driver clearly acknowledges her, nodding to her when he drops her off at her boyfriends lodgings. So either the driver is psychic and can “ see dead people” or Maureen is not dead.

      • Katie

        Yes! This all makes perfect sense now. Good review. I believe! LOL

      • HiSo88

        I agree with you 100 percent I too have seen two long reviews that seemed were from a different movie. Lol. It confirms at the end she is a spirit. She asks if it’s lewis, no knock to answer yes. Her final question is…”or is it just me” she gets a knock to confirm… Pretty clever movie…

      • Janind

        She did drink from the glass in the cafe when she 1st asked if she could have it. I did Not see her leave the hotel room, it just faded out, after she heard the door open. I wonder if there are 2 versions of this film out, showing her leaving.

      • Janine

        She did drink from the glass in the cafe when she 1st asked if she could have it. I did Not see her leave the hotel room, it just faded out, after she heard the door open. I wonder if there are 2 versions of this film out, showing her leaving.

    • Adrienne

      I disagree with you all. Doesn’t it make more sense that it was Kyra following Ingo out of the hotel? She is a spirit that he murderded after all! I can’t believe no one considered that. I believe it was her brother in the kitchen, but that’s the only time. Very well could be not at all. I think she is being messed with because she’s looking for it. Spirits love that and prey on people. After all she said she hates games when texting Ingo!

      Reply
    • SANDRA F PATTERSON

      YES, I WATCHED IT TWICE… someone else did open a door in the hotel room, and Maureen looked up as the sound of the door was heard….. she did not look surprised.. and we saw Ingo leaving the hotel, not entering. my guess: she was killed….

      Reply
    • Zoe

      I agree. Also most of these theories are based on Moreen leaving the hotel, I didn’t see her leave. Did you?
      We see her looking at someone or something, next is opening and closing of the elevator and front doors, and next is Ingo leaving and being caught by the police. Also the questions and knocking at the end of the movie went diferently than this analysis states, thus rendering it useless

      Reply
  2. Marcus

    If Ingo is the one who was texting her, and was the one who framed her by leaving those Cartier jewels in her house, then why did he text her so urgently telling her to get her ass to Room #329. Right? Allowing her to basically take the jewels and bring them back to the guy who was trying to frame her. Makes no sense. Right? And then, you also seem to be inferring things you don’t actually see on screen. Maureen arrives at the hotel (true), then leaves and the ghost follows her out. Did we see Maureen leave? Uh, no. Right? And we don’t see Ingo arrive either, we just see him leaving the same room that Maureen was in. So one has to assume, when she arrives and we hear the door opening, it’s not a ghost showing up, but Ingo’s arrival.
    Why the meet up? I don’t know. How did the cops know Ingo would be there? Who knows. Did they catch him? You seem to think so, but the last thing we see is him running offscreen with gun blazing. And two cops with seemingly zero interest in giving chase. Right?
    I’m glad you liked the movie, but for me, there is too many gaps, or unexplained parts, like the above mentioned. And the ghost bits just didn’t work for me. And the ending sucked.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Yes,
      she was never seen leaving, but she was seen again outside the hotel room. It is that one scene, with the throbbing and pulsing door, and the complicated comings and goings that makes me think that she died in that room. I so want that to be true. But I can’t figure it out. It makes sense that Ingo entered and killed her. She never left, and it was Maureen that left through the doors but we didn’t see her. And then Ingo walks out with two dead women on his hands, and a firefight erupts in the street. Right?

      But then the conversation with what’s his name, the boyfriend? And then the ride from the airport to her boyfriend? The taxi driver I could explain – they don’t talk. But the other I couldn’t…

      Hrmm. But I, unlike you, loved the ending. What’s it mean? Why? What was it saying? I’d rather an untucked ending than a bow rapped on it for me.

      Reply
      • Tor

        Yes! I like this theory. And, the ‘what’s his face, new boyfriend,’ kept saying he “felt a presence,” and he felt like he was “taking Lewis’s place.” Lewis was a medium. Maybe those lines allude to the fact that new guy is a medium and that’s why he can talk to Maureen.

      • Skye

        Ingo either murdered Maureen in the hotel room or heart gave out in it from the recent extreme excitement and stress. Ingo clearly was trying to make it seem like she killed herself over guilt for killing her boss and taking the jewels with her.
        When she is seen visiting her brother’s ex Laura in the coffee shop, it makes sense because viewers get the vibe that this woman is very receptive to spirits.
        Afterwards when she visit her brother’s ex and the new BF of the ex, it’s clear that Maureen is dead, but not aware of it as of yet.
        At one point the new BF blanches while looking at her and gets up to light a smoke.
        While he does this, he is gently talking about the dead roaming the Earth for a bit after they’ve died.
        He ask Maureen if she believes this. She replies her brother believed that after their Mother died that Lewis was paid a visit by their dead Mother.
        That she was so real, that he could smell her, see her so clearly.
        When the new BF excuses himself, we see a gliding form of a man holding a glass in the kitchen window. The glass is dropped and Maureen is startled. It appears now that Maureen is suddenly dead that he brother was shocked to see that she is dead too.
        When Maureen heads to Oman, there is no real interaction between Maureen and the guides/drivers.
        When she enters her destination and encounters another glass suspended mid air and then falling, she starts questioning who it is doing this.
        The answers from the spirit make you think at first that Lewis is trying to make contact but can’t until Maureen realizes that she too is dead. But then watching it yet again, it dawns on Maureen that she is dead now and is haunting herself.

      • Taylor Holmes

        Hey Skye,
        Yeah, I thought of that initially. And it could be. Basically like watching Six Sense from Bruce Willis’ perspective… and his not knowing that he’s actually dead. Similarly, Maureen has been parading about the world, completely clueless to the fact that she died in the hotel room. But it does seem a little strange that the driver didn’t react to the door opening… or some sort of tell. But, this is Personal Shopper after all, and this movie is abysmal at tells! hahaha.

        The more I think about it the more I think it makes sense that she is dead. Hrmmm. Intriguing movie. Rather loved everything about it.
        Taylor

      • Kim

        Go back and watch the interaction with the brothe’s woman. When it shows Maureen holding the glass it then cuts to the brother’s woman and no one is holding glass. Does this twice.

      • JDMD

        I really enjoyed the movie, defintely gets the viewer thinking and talking which ultimately is the goal of director.

        So Maureen is waiting around to see a sign from her dead brother. In the mean time her boyfriend is off in Oman and her sister in law “ex” moved out of the house and apparently has a new man.

        Maureen is looking for “sign” from her brother but in the house she only interacts with this violent spirit. In the second visit after the spirit presents her/itself to Maureen she spits out something that flies in the opposite direction out the window and the spirit goes to the chandelier. That thing going out the window, I feel was Lewis spirit. The evil spirit caused him to have a heart attack and trapped is spirit with it in the house. When the spirit sees Maureen it sense a new “victim”. Lewis’ spirit leaves the house and goes back to his wife and her new house.

        At this point I don’t know what more evidence Maureen needs of the supernatural but still she looks for something specifically from Lewis.

        She then meets Ingo who also sets his sights on Maureen. The spirt is following Maureen around, not confined to the house which is why we see the spirit hovering over Maureen at her bosses apartment.

        After Ingo murders Kyra, I feel Maureen does see Kyras spirit angry at the apartment. Of course Ingo now wants to harm Maureen.

        When he tries to frame her by placing the jewelry at her place, you notice that it’s late and when Maureen switches out the SIM card it looks like dawn. We then see her arrive at the hotel and the door opens and fade to black. What I feel is that she arrived early at the hotel to meet the police and that is why she wasn’t frightened when the door opened. She was expecting it. The opening and closing of elevator/doors was the evil spirit following Maureen around because it realized it “lost”.

        Now many this point Maureen is alive. Ingo in jail and her IT compute boyfriend is alive and she is planning on seeing him and “move on”.

        When she talks to Erwin, he definetly knows Lewis is around and feels it/ even glancing at the direction of the window during their conversation. He then tells her all these wise words that seem to come out of now where/ like a “medium” being told what to tell a person. Lewis tries to give Maureen a sign but she still ignores it.

        She travels to Oman, and there are several people that show her to the room and gesture hello to her even opening the door to the room where the final seen takes place.

        There she sees the glass floating and drops.

        Using bangs, the spirit says yes that’s it’s Lewis and that it’s in peace.

        You her Maureen say thank you and shed a tear feeling like she finally got her sign. Then there’s a rattle and she askes again this time not getting an answer. When she asks if it’s Lewis or “is it just [email protected] I think she is asking if she is the medium or is her brother still helping her. Then the spirit answers Just her meaning that now she’s the medium open to truly communicate with spirits.

        Any theory you find fits, good movie and entertaining

      • Senta

        Hi, Taylor,

        I tried to reply to your right here but my reply went somewhere else so you cannot respond to it. But I really enjoyed this link and all the interesting POVs everyone had. It is amazing how different we all are in our perceptions. Vive la différence!

        I will look at your other reviews too. 🙂

      • Taylor Holmes

        Thanks Senta for the kind words, I have tried to get it all straightened out. Working on it from my phone so it’s a little tricky. Hopefully it’s square now! Please don’t be a stranger! Your comments-books will always be welcome!

      • Esperanza

        Ditto! Here I go….. She’s talked w/ Lewis’ girlfriend and the new boyfriend. But he also could have been another spirit talking to her and Sharing what Lewis would say. He’s seen leaving but never
        saying goodbye to the girlfriend. Just assumed it’s him. He said all the right things she needed to hear. He left a bit hauntingly. I think the guy in the window is another spirit that’s the been creeping on her. Attached to her energy. Maybe the vomit of the woman?? Unleashing a malevolent entity? Hmmm…. they say for every positive there’s a negative, where there is good there is evil, heaven/ hell, up down,you get it. I see that she was interactive w/ the hotel man in Oman that gave her a nod to receive her as she went in. For me the entity carrying the glass and dropping it wasn’t right or peaceful. I got a negative vibe in my senses that It was messing w/ her. It stalked her. Even in Kyras bed. I say the ending may give room to a sequel (which would kill the mystery and beauty of the movie.) But it did succeed in captivating and making you ponder…… did I waist an hour an 45 min of my life? Or, is this artistic work to make you draw your own conclusion of, is there an afterlife? What would it be for you? What shape or essence would you give yourself in the after? Is it based on who you are now and how you lived or can you repent when your already gone to have a different light? . I didn’t realize it’s depth until I read the many opinions and wanted a solid breakdown of the ending. The beauty and righteousness is that there is no single answer( I think) and it’s what your individual spirit wants to believe now. If this is the case, shouldn’t we start to live like we would when we’re gone…. hmmm, too much. My head is going to explode! LoL. I do know I wasn’t sure if I enjoyed it until I read and wrote this. Now I know I loved it.

    • Brandy

      I felt like I wasted 1 hour and 45 min of my life watching this movie.

      Reply
  3. Jaclyn Hill

    Another good theory I read online suggests that her heart condition made her susceptible to seeing the ghosts and that the sudden onslaught of apparitions is a sign she is about to die, most likely from the heart condition that killed her brother.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Yeah, could be. I’d buy anything at this point. The heart condition idea would be a different root cause for theory 1, so maybe like a theory 1.5? I’ll add it.

      Oh no wait. What if her heart condition and the excitement of her Boss’ death caused her a heart attack? So no matter who opened and closed the door, heart attack ensued? So many possibilities for what happened there.

      Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Hahaha @Simon,
      then why bother finding a web browser, searching for personal shopper, reading, scrolling, and the dumping that here? Why even bother? How about you share a movie that you recently liked better? “Hated Personal Shopper, but holy crap I loved Life. Or Belko…” or SOMETHING that will give others a chance to learn from your post. This blog skews to the 10%. If you hated it, I may just have loved it. And I am 100% ok with that. But thanks for swinging by anyway.

      Taylor

      Reply
      • james b

        I could say that when she finds kyra, we saw her become afraid of the light flickering in the doorway and those strange sounds emitting from within. I personally think that was imagery of her having a heart attack. she could have very well passed away then.

    • grabthar

      Lazy film making. They weren’t ghosts…they were demons! She sought them out and they did their thing to her.

      Reply
      • Taylor Holmes

        Yeah,
        I like that answer. Or view. I do think it is malicious spirits playing with her just like Ingo played with her. Telling her what she wanted to hear.

        And no, it isn’t lazy film making. It’s lame that all Americans want a nice bow wrapped on every movie experience. A wrap up flash back to explain it all. Bah.

        But I get it that I’m rare STRANGE that way.
        Taylor

      • Tor

        Ah, Taylor..why you gotta generalize, stereotype and insult all Americans because of one person’s opinion??? Not a fair statement.

      • Taylor Holmes

        True,
        There are many here who agree with me and like to discuss, argue, and debate un-bow-tied movies. Fair enough. But I get ridiculed regularly for my taste in movies. In the circles I run with it’s really rare that people agree with me and my taste of movies. So much so that I don’t give out movie recommendations anymore.

        So yes, you are right. Some Americans adore good movies with complicated and intricate details that are difficult to understand. But I think I found most of all of you here!! Hahaha.

        Taylor

  4. Eric Von Habsburg

    This is long and I’m sorry in advance.

    Okay, so I literally just finished watching this Movie and I could 100% get behind Ingo killing her in the Hotel room and the invisible departure was actually her spirit leaving.
    That would make a lot of sense and that’s what I thought at first.
    I could also buy that the guy which is supposed to be who her (sister-in-law) ? is now dating, is actually a ghost and he and Maureen are both dead.

    At least, I could if it weren’t for the huge inconsistencies in the timeline that does not allow that to be possible.

    For instance the fact that Maureen !Talks! to her brother’s girlfriend, Both in the bar after Ingo is arrested AND at her house after the new boyfriend leaves and the brother/random ghost breaks the glass all point to her being alive. Maureen once again talks to her brothers girlfriend about the broken glass, so I’m fairly sure she was still alive at THAT point as well.

    That said, maybe she did die from the stress of the last week like someone put forth in the comment section.
    Maybe the stress of the ghost communings, the creepy text messages, and the murder of her boss has finally overtaxed her deformed heart BUT she only dies AS she was going to Oman. People with heart conditions sometimes die from the pressurization and depressurization of flights. Maybe, she’s died on the way there and is going through the process of realizing that she, a medium, is now dead. Maybe, like someone else said, she is experiencing the spirit world for the first time but in a familiar way so her noncorporeal mind can interpret the disconnection from life/reality without it being a jarring experience. Thus necessitating that weird note! Perhaps that’s why Maureen’s boyfriend isn’t there to meet her in either his beach apartment or the hut/room in the mountains?? She is dead and she or some spiritual being is using this note as a way to steer her consciousness.

    If the note was real and not self contrived or the product of some other being where is HE?

    The fact that she is going to the mountains at all also begs a potentially death affirming question.

    Which is: Why would her computer programmer boyfriend, the one who is supposed to be working on security software he has only just received and says will take “at least a month to finish”, now suddenly gone off to the middle of NOWHERE in the Oman mountains for a week long vacation with his girlfriend??? That makes no sense at all to me. Huge Red Flag!

    What could potentially make sense for me, is that, All she found at his little beach apartment was a note saying to go to the mountains with “pretty much nothing because you won’t need anything”. This Sounds like an afterlife ghostly thing to say to me and it tells me that her boyfriend didn’t write that note at all.

    I say Everything with the ghosts has been real up to that point.
    That she has died on the flight down there and the Note and everything afterward is the part that is all in her head as a way to ease her into the afterlife and as a way to help her cope with her new found state of death.

    At this point I feel like I’m a madman grasping at straws.

    !!Maybe!!
    it’s just a badly written ending with too many holes to have a sense of finality or closure and we should just accept the “WTF happened” feeling of confusion and be done with it.

    Reply
    • SCorrea

      I was nodding my head at the ‘she died in the hotel’ theories I’ve been reading but Belual pretty much nailed my thoughts 100%. She had the interactions with the brother’s girlfriend after the hotel scene and including after the glass breaks at the house. Although I do appreciate a movie that forces me to think, I feel that no theory I’ve read is correct thus far and that’s frustrating. So if she died, it must have been after the hotel, by a heart attack on her way to Oman I guess (but since things are a little crazy at this point of my thinking and logic has gone out the window, maybe it was colonel Mustard with a candlestick). Whatever. I need to let go of my need to understand and make sense of things.

      Reply
  5. Noni

    I’ve read a few articles about this movie and one thing each of them say is that Maureen leaves the hotel (the last time) We never saw her actually leave the hotel. She sets the bags on the bed and began to remove the jewelry from them and we hear someone (Ingo?) come into the room. Then we see the elevators opening and the doors of the hotel opening. Where do they see her leaving the hotel?

    Reply
    • SCorrea

      We assume she did leave the hotel because she meets with her brother’s sister, hugs her at the restaurant, stays overnight at her place, and talks with her again agmfwtr the glass breaks while she’s cleaning up. What are we supoosed to assume here? That everyone is dead and the whole movie takes place in another realm?? You tell me.

      Reply
  6. ShaVegas

    Here’s my take. The ever following spirits! This movie featured several different spirits. She gave us a hint by explaining to Ingo that we are ALWAYS surrounded by spirits. Always.
    Spirit # 1. The phantasm!! The 1st ghost/spirit she encountered at the house where her brother died. This spirit left cross markings, was very angry and lost. Hints of this: The ghostly cross carvings. The running of water (water representing re-birth) The aggressiveness (the ghost did not want to pass over and was “lost” between worlds). Maureen explained to Lewis’ girlfriend that she believed it was maybe a lost spirit and that she did not think it would return. Spiritual ppl know that “lost” spirits want to take over the body of a living soul. So…… She never returned to that house… The “lost” spirit did follow her to her boss’ house and appeared after Maureen did something “forbidden” and attempted to take over her body BUT…. Maureen is a medium and the feeling scared her out of her sleep. She immediately left the boss’ house.

    Spirit #2. On the train there was a spirit… She felt it and returned to her seat.

    Spirit #3. Kyra!!! The boss’ spirit was in the apartment where she was murdered and was PISSED that she was dead. The rocking shadows and banging represented the angered spirit of the dead boss. Spirits linger after death… remember that hint and the story about their mom?

    Spirit #4. The director clearly wanted us to see this one as it left an elevator, walked through 2 sliding doors and NO ONE NOTICED!!! Another clue that we are ALWAYS surrounded by spirits and do not notice it.

    The BEST part about this next spirit is that Maureen ate her own words regarding ever near by spirits. IT was RIGHT IN HER FACE!!!! The new boyfriend told her DIRECTLY that Lewis was at the GIRLFRIENDS HOUSE. No guess work there. The new boyfriend told her that he KNOWS Lewis is there because “something” is holding him back. Which leads me to spirit # 5.. LEWIS!!!!

    After the boyfriend tells Maureen that Lewis is there her leaves and immediately we see, who I believe is Lewis, carrying a glass/coffee mug and then drops it. Ironically, Maureen disregarded the fact that “spirits” are always around. She neglected the idea that her brother’s spirit was with his girlfriend and not at that lonely house.

    Lewis’ spirit was NEVER at the house she arrived to at the beginning. That obviously was the “lost” spirit she mentioned. Not Lewis. Never Lewis. Lewis was too busy haunting the girlfriend who was in need of a physical connection which is why she was able to move on so soon. Poor Maureen.. So sure that her brother would provide a sign yet.. She was looking in the wrong place, ignored the new boyfriends plea that Lewis was there and ignored his 1st encounter with her.

    Maureen clearly did not die at the hotel because stayed with her brothers now ex girlfriend.. She spoke with the new boyfriend, she spoke with her boyfriend, she was guided into a living space after arriving to the desert.

    She spoke about her travels with her boyfriend who said, Remember, you asked for this. Implying that she asked for the spiritual journey to Oman.
    Oman is known for being a highly spiritual area…… Her need to make contact did not end… She was simply tired of Paris. Plus her means of income had come to an end.
    MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!!
    At the end a very important line was left out in this article. Her final question was not “Is this coming from me?”

    Her final question was… “Lewis is it you? Or is it just me?……. Knock!!

    It obviously was Lewis.. She missed his “sign” at the girlfriends house. He made darn sure she did not miss it twice.

    Look around, where ever you are, and remember….. Spirits are ALWAYS there. Always!

    Reply
    • ShaVegas

      So sorry about the typos. No excuse to not proof read but…… I started watching this movie around 11pm… Fell asleep on it… Awoke at 2:22 am, poured some A&W Root Beer and started the movie over. Then I watched the ending about 20 times because Kristen LOVES to mumble her lines and I just had to gain clarification.
      So, it’s now 5:08 am and I’m ready for another nap before I get my day started.

      BTW….. I really enjoyed your explanations!!!! Great read!!

      Reply
    • Win F

      You do this film and filmmaking in general such a disservice by attempting to hold it to some system of other world belief and conventions. It doesn’t have to conform to any set model; it’s a movie that can be made as artfully as the director chooses. It’s cool that it has people coming up with theories but only the director knows exactly what anything in it means or doesn’t mean or is purposely left open.

      Reply
      • Kevin

        The vagueness of the storytelling in Personal Shopper is an invitation to the viewer to tie the clues together and find meaning. It’s interactive. The director obviously isn’t handing out answers and people are looking to exchange ideas about the meanings behind the movie. How is it a disservice to throw ideas out and see what sticks? Any director would love having their work discussed like this, and it’s obviously this directors intent for people to do so.

    • Toby Dean

      You got it spot on, I think…
      This is how I saw it too ….
      Perfectly articulated and understood.. Kudos to you …

      Reply
  7. Teshan

    Does anyone saw Maureen’s boyfriend alive?
    She came to see him but he is not there.
    And that driver also talked with her.so I don’t think Maureen is dead.
    This is the 1st time I disappointed like this by seen a movie

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      I know right?! hahaha. Totally. I don’t think Maureen ever saw Lewis. And we didn’t see him either. The guy we saw in the kitchen, I think was just a ghost messing with Maureen. That’s the only thing that I can think of that makes sense with the information that we have been given.

      Reply
      • Teshan

        Sometimes I feel like that killer, unknown texter is another part of Maureen’s mind.it helps her to do what she likes.it asked when texting ‘You want to be another one?’.
        Like it go from her body and done this or something.
        When she sleep on her boss’s bed,it’s entered to her body or something like that.

      • Maggielis

        Enjoyed your article! Realize I’m late to the party, but was completely fascinated by this movie, think it was boyfriend GARY in the kitchen with the glass, and also think she was killed in hotel room and was the spirit opening the hotel lobby doors. If so, wondering who was the older woman in the restaurant (she had a sip of her drink) – perhaps this was the abstract artist?

  8. Jenna

    Ok. Is it possible she set up Ingo at the hotel? Found the jewelry. Got the texts, room number and key. Then changes her SIM card? Maybe this is so she can call the police without the the stalker (possible hacker?) knowing? He takes the jewelry from the room and then gets caught outside. Otherwise don’t you think the police would have tons of questions for her still. Even if Ingo confessed…they would still have questions. Why she had a hotel right on there? It was probably in her name again, right? The cops were plainclothed so presumably they would have saw her come into the hotel. Right? I feel so sure about this but the end. No freaking clue.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Wait, Jenna… where was the ‘setup’? You think Maureen called the police in advance of her going there? Is that what you mean by setting Ingo up? I like the thread… digging it… just a little confused on the setup bit.

      Reply
      • Jenna

        Yes! I think it’s possible she set him up to be caught by the police at the hotel. Otherwise it was all just to simple. Her not being questioned further, and the police knowing where he would be. Sorry I wasn’t clear prior! Autocorrect changed a few of my words ….

  9. Neha

    I feel this movie has two themes: Ghost Movie and Murder Mystery. They both are the base for the movie’s main theme: Maureen’s Identity. Maureen has lost a twin and now finds herself without an identity, not knowing who she is without her counterpart in life. When she talks of how Lewis always led the way and she followed, I feel she is talking about his death rather than Lewis’s ability as a medium. That he is so ahead that she can’t follow him. Maureen is desperate for a sign and reads it wherever she can. When she finally admits defeat, we see her receiving a sign. Have you ever seen something/been in a situation, that you play back in your head later and give more meaning to it? Maybe that’s what Maureen did. She thinks that the glass might not have been an accident. Maybe it was Lewis. But her obsession with seeing a sign has made her talk to a stalker on texts, what’s more a murderer. So maybe she is reading too much into it. When the last ghost communicates with her, Maureen is closer to finding her identity again and realises that all this time she has been reading too much into things. This knowledge is enough for her to get a grip on her life, not be lost anymore. So, that’s where the movie ends.

    Reply
  10. TL

    Did anyone notice how the ghost at Lewis’s girlfriend’s house look remarkably like Gary, the man in Oman ? Or is just me?

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      I wish there was a credit for that particular part – would love to find out who that was so we could talk to him. “WHO ARE YOU!!!!” No, I promise it would be a very civil interview. Cross my heart.

      Reply
    • Diana

      I actually thought he looked so much like the new bf. In fact, I got the chills thinking he returned to spook her but there was just a glass hanging midair!

      Reply
  11. JC

    Hi , from Barcelona
    I read all the comments and theories and I found them very interesting

    I found in a spanish movie web-site an explanation that clarifies it

    http://www.filmaffinity.com/es/reviews/1/404071.html

    May be you can translate it with google translator

    The film was presented in Sevilla and the director Oliver Assayas who was there in the room gave the explanation

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      So basically after reading through that link thoroughly, it is asserting that Assayas said that Maureen made up the contact with the ghosts, and it was caused by the grief of her lose. I totally buy it. That is basically my theory number 1. That the stress and the chaos of the loss of her brother made her imagine the ghosts and the interactions with the phantasms. And that actually jives with the last quote of the movie… “Is it me?”… Am I the one making all this up?

      Love this movie more and more the more I dig into it.

      Reply
      • Win F

        It still leaves the question of the hotel doors opening without anyone walking through. I still don’t get how that fits into the director’s explanation.

      • Allicyn

        When she is in Oman she doesnt call out Gary, she says AJ are you here? Who is AJ?

    • Skye

      That link seems to be a one off.
      Other interviews with Olivier demonstrate his opinion that there are ghosts, there are other dimensions here and in Personal Shopper.
      OA to his interviewer.
      “we call ghosts, forces, presences, things that are around us, that are ultimately part of us. They are part of our distortion of reality around us, in a certain way. But we should not be blinded by the name “ghosts.” It’s all about, really, connecting with another dimension of the world, and we know that there’s another dimension to the world because [touches various objects around him] the material world is not the end of it. ”
      Read more at http://www.craveonline.com/entertainment/1117515-tiff-2016-olivier-assayas-personal-shopper-de-glamorizing-kristen-stewart#f9RyAMKhaYG7vWjG.99

      Also, OA states in another interview that Maureen is definitely getting texts from Ingo, she’s not imagining them/nor texting herself.

      “in reality Maureen is not speaking to a ghost, she’s speaking to Ingo. She just thinks it might be an entity. I intended to have very little ambiguity, but a lot of people seem to take that side road. Basically it’s guy who is stalking and observing her.”
      http://www.dmovies.org/2017/03/15/dirty-questions-olivier-assayas/

      The following might also lend credence to Maureen’s BF being merely an entity and not alive in the traditional sense.
      ” So of course, the way we mourn, the way we relate to the invisible, the way we relate to some kind of fantasy world is transformed, is complexified by the way we constantly communicate. It’s a fact of modern life, and it raises a question — if we’re connected with whatever we used to call the supernatural, whatever we used to call the paranormal, all of a sudden [in this connected world] the borders become porous. They become blurred.”
      https://filmmakermagazine.com/101206-the-terror-of-the-text/comment-page-1/

      Ingo definitely placed the jewelry in Maureen’s apartment.
      And he also states that the answers don’t matter, he would rather the audience has questions.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tu01fNA81ms

      Reply
  12. Antony

    And another thing that I dunno if anyone’s touched upon here – but that I enjoyed being made to think about – was the idea of “ghosts” as in modern telecommunication. Text messages suddenly appear from the aether, whether they’re from random strangers or even from people we know – and there was something distinctly odd about those Skype calls with her boyfriend, too, like he was sort of an apparition – “in the room” one minute, then gone again. I think it was just the general mood of the film, so closely focused on the very lonely central character, that made all those instances of communication seem abstract and sort of “unreal”, much like the ghosts. Actually everyone in the film seemed to be lonely and isolated in their own way, except maybe for the new boyfriend (Irvin?) who just seemed a bit creepy…!

    Personally I liked the film, it’s unusual and intriguing, but to be honest I did feel cheated by the ending. It would’ve been good to get a bit more of a “solution”, or at least more of a hint at one, rather than just a sudden cut. I like open ended films and strange mysteries, but if we need the director’s explanation at a film festival to fully understand his intent there probably would’ve been some room for improvement in the script…Top notch acting from Kristen Stewart, though, she really made it what it is.

    Reply
    • Zelig

      Had the very same thought earlier this evening while re-watching a few scenes and noticing the screens Maureen interacts with, including a passenger check-in station. And interesting how bad her Skype connection is — blurry in an odd way, with the sound out of sync, making it more ghost-like than any ordinarily poor Skype connection I ever experienced. And then there’s the “meta” dimension: we the audience are witnessing this entire story on a screen, the human figures we are so moved by are just apparitions.

      Reply
    • Win F

      The ending wasn’t a sudden cut–it was a white fade out which is usually suggestive. If there was no ghost element in the story, the mysterious texts would merely seem like a stalker…of the human kind, but in this film, you’re right that it leaves that idea open. I found all the texting in the middle portion to bring the film down. Generally, you don’t want your audience reading so much from screens. I agree with you that the director shouldn’t have to explain so much of what he meant to say. I’m in the minority of folks who thought it was a mediocre film and *not* because of a lack of resolution or dislike of Stewart. I watch plenty of foreign films and instead highly recommend Toni Erdmann.

      Reply
  13. Jeroen Vahrmeijer

    Okay, here are my thoughts and questions. I do think Ingo is the one who was texting here. I do not want to believe the text messages were from a ghost…don’t like that idea. When a person, Ingo, walks into the hotel room, we kinda see Kristen roll her eyes, being dissapointed that it was him, I guess.

    No one mentioned my biggest clue/question: after she’s questioned by the police she goes back to the apartment where there was just a high profileren celebrity murder but we see no cop cars, yellow tape, press, onlookers etc. For me that was a big clue that the murder took place in Maureen’s mind but did not actually happen. But she meets her sister-in-law at the café who seems to know about the murder but may be that’s only because of what Maureen told her? The only way we know that Ingo confessed is because of Maureen saying so in this scene. I do not trust her sister-in-law…there is something of. She said that she knew her new Bf just a little bit before her bf died but then her new bf seemed to have known Maureen’s brother extremely well!! ????

    I see something in all your comments above but find it strange that no one mentions the lack of any evidence outside Kyra’s apartment bldg of anything that happened there when Maureen picks up her scooter.

    Allthough there are many questions, I LOVED this movie! I was so pleasantly surprised. Great acting from Kristen!!!!!

    Reply
    • Win F

      When we see the character Maureen after the police station she does not go back to Kyra’s–she is at her own apartment and finds the jewels there left by Ingo.

      Reply
  14. Lori Bucci

    My take is Lewis was at peace when he passed and moved on. Maureen is interacting with troubled spirits and realizes she is a medium like her brother was.

    Reply
  15. Izzy

    I think the ghost was her boss spirit leaving the hotel. I think that Maureen already had it planned out with the cops about Ingo and did tell them about the text messages. If you noticed the cops were dressed in disguise in what I saw; not there nice uniform detective wardrobe. That’s why she wouldn’t answer him when he texted her if she told the cops about the text messages. As far as the ghost in the back of the apartment I think that was also her boss’s spirit. Remember she was a medium why wouldn’t her boss spirit reach out to her too. The ending I felt that it met that she would never just let the spirit world go like she said she would do if she had contact with her brother. Her reality as medium would be that, interacting with the spirit not mattering what situation she was in; ghost were not going to stop reaching out just because she decided to take a vacation. Now the fact that they were more apparent to her was because of her vulnerability from the trauma and grieve of her brothers death or that she was taking his place. She did mention that she was a follower to her brother but stopped when she felt she could no longer catch up. I think throughout the movie she never really accepted the fact of the spirit world because of the fact that her brother wouldn’t reach out to her. That’s why she said at the end of it was herself causing it.

    Reply
  16. Kate

    I think I got it. I am pretty sure that the guy we see behind the window in the kitchen with a glass is Maureen’s boyfriend and he is already dead at that time but trying to communicate with her. Because this is towards the end of the movie where we actually do not see him anymore alive. The skype call with him was before. And after Maureen adtually arrives in Oman she never sees him. He wrote the letter in advance when he was still alive,because he knew that she is coming (she told him she can’t stay in Paris anymore) and he knew by the time she arrives to his flat he will be somewhere on the hill so he left the letter. But I think in the meantime he was murdered or died in accident and he is the one who is again holding the glass and breaking it and then making the banging noises when Maureen is asking questions (1 bang for yes, 2 for no) because when she asks Do you mean harm it bangs twice, meaning no, because he loved her, and this is also what Lewise’s exgirlfriend said,so to Maureen’s last question “Lewis is it you, or is it just me” it bangs once meaning it is just her, not Lewis but her deceased boyfriend and hopefully she will find out later with more questions as the picture goes white.

    Reply
  17. Heny

    Just watched the movie last night. Getting confused then ended up here seeking for explanation.

    Reply
      • Heny

        haha the movie itself was suspenseful. I watched it twice and I choose the theory about Maureen was murdered by Ingo in the hotel. Because why did he bring a gun if he didn’t mean to harm? then everything that happened afterwards was her soul wandering around doing things she wanted before she was murdered. (sorry my english isn’t good)

  18. Elizabeth Major

    I have a theory.
    Firstly I’ll mention the lexical chain of open doors. They appear throughout the film, particularly in the first scene when Maureen opens the house doors, again when she smokes with Ingo.
    The door Maureen is sketching is exactly the scene later when she looks back at the room where Kyra’s dead body is and sees the presence. She even mentioned the slightly ajar door to Ingo so again, obviously symbolic.
    Possibly this is symbolic of the doors to the spiritual realm.
    Or, they may also be a reference to Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception (an essay on his experience on mescalin, the key hallucinogenic, psychedelic ingredient of peyote).
    And psychedelics often convince users that we are “always surrounded by beings whether dead or alive”… sound familiar? Maureen says it, or something like it, to Ingo.
    Now to my theory.
    I think there are 2 ghosts.
    In this theory, Ingo killed Kyra the night she broke up with him, when Ingo and Maureen first meet. We never see Kyra again. Apparently she calls but Maureen doesn’t say her name so we only guess it’s her. That means Kyra is the ghost that spews the ectoplasm, she is angry at Maureen for wearing her shoes at that point, hence her feet being the most clear part of her phantasm. The first cross was likely there before but then Kyra’s ghost imitates it. Or it was Lewis warning Maureen.
    Anyway, after Ingo kills Kyra, he realises he can use Maureen. So he cleans up, leads her through this game of wearing the clothes etc (also why Kyra appears again while Maureen is sleeping in her bed and wearing her clothes).
    Ingo gets the proof for motive – a picture of Maureen in Kyra’s dress. Likely Ingo had gotten a copy of Maureen’s keys that night she slept at Kyra’s. All he had to do was sneak in and do it late while she slept. Then he lays the body, throws some blood around, waits for Maureen to run, plants the jewellery. We know the next part at the police but then Ingo is suspicious of why she wasn’t arrested and he realises the texts probably prove her story. So he asks if she told. He realises he maybe needs to kill Maureen too.
    Then Kyra, who has attached herself to Maureen, turns up at the final hotel, walking ahead of her (more doors opening/closing) and Kyra’s ghost is angry at Ingo for killing her. She does something that scares him in the hotel then leaves. He leaves quickly after and is caught by police. Then Maureen is in Oman and Kyra is like ‘Hey. Still here. Still imitating Lewis with the glass and still pissed off about you wearing my clothes and also masturbating in my bed!’

    Reply
  19. David

    Assuming that this film is indeed a “ghost story”, and basing it on what the film maker had said about his own movie, Poltergeist activity, theoretically, can be triggered by high stress and emotional moments. This does not mean it is an apparition of the deceased, but more of an extra sensory ability by those experiencing such a haunting.

    In fact, there is not a single scene that occurs with the apparitions with another character present to witness the activity. Just Maureen. Token glasses and the scratches are a manifestitaon of her stress, coupled with her deep desire to see her twin brother one last time.

    I think it is simply her having trouble dealing with the death of her brother, and the physical manifestation of stress. The rest of the film, the murder, the texts, they were macguffin. Red herring. Plot fodder for misdirection. It was effective. The film was atmospheric and ambiguous.

    Watch the film The Babadook to see a similar take on stress manifesting as some monster that lives in the shadows.

    Reply
  20. Cody

    I get the sense that she died in the hotel room. First, we never see her leave, and someone clearly entered the room before it faded to black. Everything that happens after could be just like the guy in the backyard said to her: that the spirit lingers for awhile, and that Lewis was visited by their mother after she died, vividly. It’s like she’s lingering and finding closure for herself without knowing it, and maybe helped that guy find closure for his guilt of dating Lewis’s exgirlfriend. And then she maybe finds her own peace, after journeying? She’s wearing mostly white for that whole sequence, as she sets out toward the last scene, not to mention it fades to white at the end instead of black. What a great film. A quiet, thoughtful answer to the trashy horror films of the mainstream.

    Reply
  21. P M

    I’m just gonna say this one thing after reading all your comments: Maureen is dead; We clearly get the answer to it at the last second of the movie when she realizes it while getting answered to it.

    Nice brainstorming all !

    Cheers.

    Reply
  22. Murray IT

    I’ll stay with your 1st theory, the key monologue at the end of the movie explained it all and that’s what I truly believe too when I hear any kind of ghost stories!
    Lewis is it you? Or is it just me?! Knock!
    Yeah we have many other scenes like spirit leaving the hotel but those are all delusions IMHO

    Reply
  23. Harsh Malik

    I would like to mention a point here. The floating of glass in the end was same as what happened in the garden, where we saw a ghost which we assumed to be Lewis. I think making the glass float in the same manner was a sign for informing that there was the same ghost in both the place. What do you say?

    Reply
  24. Maiha

    I have just watched the film and agree with parts of a few theories on here. The theme of doors opening or being ajar is mentioned throughout and visually impactful in the scenes in the hotel. Maureen mentions something along the line that her skills as a medium are similar to a door being ajar and seeing bits but not everything. I think this is reflective of her experience throughout the movie and our experience as the viewer.
    I am still in two minds regarding the end and what it means, I think there is a strong case that she was killed in the hotel room by Ingo, we see her spirit leave the hotel and I believe her spirit does appear to her brothers girlfriend and new boyfriend to tie up lose ends before she moves on to the afterlife. The brothers girlfriend was the strongest human connection maureen had throughout the film and this is why I think she needs to say goodbye and let her know it is ok to move on. I think the glass dropping by her brother is a sign to us as the viewer that this is where her brother has been and that there is an after life. Maureen then takes the journey to the after life, this is visually represented by her going to Oman and the questions she asked of whether she is at peace or not at peace are really her asking herself this – she is at peace because she has moved on but not at peace because she was murdered. As others have stated why would her boyfriend not be there to meet her at any time especially knowing the trauma she been through? I think the people we see in Oman who greet her are just those assisting her in the afterlife.

    It is against her character throughout the film to be dressed in white or an outfit similar to what she wears in the end scenes and this to me is a sign that she is moving to the afterlife, her version/experience of it anyway.

    Reply
    • Elgli

      The most impressing thing, in my opinion, is that the door sensors also apply for ghosts. They are way too sensitive and the hotel manager must do something about it.

      Reply
      • Louise

        And surely ghosts struggle with using lifts? Maybe its to show that the ghost doesnt know its dead otherwise it would just float down? Given me a headache this film

      • Taylor Holmes

        hahaha! Yes, management really should look into the spectral door sensors for sure! Way way too sensitive.

  25. Paul

    I feel she knew she was going to die in the hotel room. And wanted to. It was a deliberate act on her part because she wanted to move to the afterlife (represented by her journey to Oman) and be with her brother – who I think may also have been her boyfriend (she has a problem with identity throughout). She was tired of Paris and therefore tired of life. She set up Ingo and the police arrested him for killing both her and her boss. The empty lift and the door opening tell us she is dead. Symbolically dressed in white, she follows the instructions left to her by her brother/boyfriend. The ambiguous conversation at the end is designed to get us all talking about the meaning, but I also think the storyteller is giving us a clear indication that she is in that place between worlds and is moving on. The spirit in Kyra’s flat is an angry Kyra, the spirit in the old house is simply an angry someone else – letting us know early on that Maureen has a connection with the dead. Her brother/boyfriend is the spirit with the glass and I wonder if smashing the glass is his way of saying he is not happy that his partner has moved onto a new man (who feels his presence as obstructive). I enjoy a film that is deliberately ambiguous like this. The only part I didn’t like much were the texts – that went on a bit much – but it played a part because instead of blocking him, she encouraged him – she knew that she was going to use him.

    Reply
  26. Stefan

    Did anybody else find it odd, that in the beginning of the movie, she didn’t take a sip of any of the drinks she ordered (coffee, beer, …) or drank anything else. And it was so obvious that I can not imagine it to random. In the first scene after the hotelincident we see her the first time actually drink something. Or so it seems. But the water doesn’t quite reach the mouth. And than you see Maureen grab the gras again and leaving her hand on it. The camera goes to her friend and you see the glas without the hand of Maureen. The camera goes back to Maureen and her hand is still on it. It could be a misstake in filming. But the whole drinking and glas thing seems too much of a maintheme throughout the movie.
    What do you think about it?

    Reply
  27. Paul

    My degree was in literature with an emphasis on symbolism (not grammar :)). Meaning that when I watch a movie I look for signs and symbolism. I miss a lot sometimes but did anyone else notice that everytime she went to the hotel the hotel number added up to 13. Also whenever there was a ghost encounter or danger (such as talking to the the German) there were always the colors red and black either at the end of the scene, during or the beginning. There is a lot more but I think those are the two most important. Both of those are used a lot in movies especially red such as in the horror movies the sixth sense. I didn’t see anyone else mention those things. As for everything else I think it’s intentionally vague, the unknown can be much scarier than what we see as any lover of HP Lovecraft can tell you. I personally believe she was alive and going to be fucked with by ghosts for the rest of her life. It seems that if you are an asshole in the real world that carries over to the next. Really speaking no interpretation can be wrong and if you got an honest answer from the writer and director they probably don’t really know what it all really meant either. I enjoyed it, have more questions than answers and glad into didn’t go on for 7 seasons like Lost and ruin all the mystery or make my eyes roll when mysteries are explained. Last thought, in that scene where Kristen Stewart is wearing that green sweater, did anyone else think she looked like a young Kurt Cobain? Lol

    Reply
  28. Griffin

    Here’s what I think. The entity that Maureen encounters at the beginning is the one who gave her brother the heart attack. Spirits don’t like it when humans can see and communicate with their dimension while still living in an organic body of free will. This entity knew of his heart condition and spewed out whatever it was and did the same thing to her because she was his twin with the same heart condition. It was just a matter of time for it to work. Maureen needed to be vulnerable for it to set in. Maureen wanting to be someone else when she is in Kyra’s dress and sleeps in her bed. That’s when the entity takes that opportunity and appears while she’s sleeping. That is when shit goes down hill for her. Nerves, fear and confusion kick in weakening the heart.
    Now the hotel incident. Maureen does change her sim card on her phone before going to the hotel. She informed the police about Ingo and his history with Kyra also he was staying at that hotel. So she takes the jewels to the room and throws them on the bed. It’s Lewis who shows up but she falls into a trance and he shields her making her invisible leaving the hotel. In Maureen’s mind she thinks she planted the jewels and left the hotel before Ingo got there. That’s why the new boyfriend said he can still feel Lewis’s presence there because he was. She’s not dead yet.
    She arrives in oman and if you notice there are kids in the background playing until she ask her first question. Lewis is that you. Then silence. 1 stomp for yes. Are you at peace? yes After she says thank you that’s when she dies from what the entity put in her. Lewis is that you? or is it me? yes it is Maureen

    Reply
    • Suzana Correa

      Great insight and I agree with some of your key points: I think Maureen contacted the police before going to the hotel and therefore she set up Ingo. The invisible presence coming down the hotel elavator was Lewis who went there with her. She was alive at her brother’s girlfriend’s house. The guy there was a ghost. Not sure who the other ghost is (who breaks the glass). I’m assuming it’s Lewis who is now more aggressive in trying to give her the signs she’s seeking from him. At some point before Oman (I have no idea when/where she dies) she becomes a ghost – the clue I see for that is in the last line of the movie when she says “or is it me?” Now that I understand it better, I think it was a great movie. Everything is so vague that you can interpret it in many ways. But I think the director meant to tell us that by the end of the movie (at least), she’s dead.

      Reply
      • mh

        But didn’t she leave the SIM card on the table bc she left in a hurry? I think she changed the SIM card so the unknown texted couldn’t reach her. She obviously had to inform the cops though because they were waiting outside for him. But back to leaving the SIM card on the table – she actually left a lot of items on tables when she was in a hurry – a small to go cup of espresso, a Stella beer, and the SIM card. Not sure if this has any significance but it was something I caught.

    • Chini2405

      Wow, I like your point of view. I just saw the film yesterday and I hv been trying to figure it out. But you have very good points. I am going to watch it again.

      Reply
  29. Zorumi

    For me, the whole movie was quite boring but then the ending got me. I was confused and still trying to understand.

    She did died in the hotel room. When she comes to his brothers ex gf the person breaks the glass was his boyfriend. (we have never seen her brother). Maureen’s boyfriend may have came to that house after he heard that Maureen has died. He was shocked because he saw Maureen’s ghost and lost the glasses. At the ending he also saw Maureen. Because the whole room were dark, without light like Maureen finally found out herself has died.

    Reply
  30. MacF

    Taylor Holmes – kudos on your blog! Totally fun! I enjoyed this film, and the commenting that went on here!
    I watched Personal Shopper with my sister and a friend and when it ended a huge discussion ensued. So, here is our fnal theory: When Maureen was in the hotel room the final time, she heard the door to the room open and close, she looked and then closed her eyes and it faded to white. We think it was the police who she saw, and she closed her eyes in shame. Fastforward a bit, then Ingo came and left and was caught by the police. This makes the most sense because then she met her friend at the cafe and knew all the details of Ingo confessing as if she had spent time at the police station. Remember, they hugged dramatically and the friend inferred she new what happened, etc.
    I enjoyed reading what other people commented because I missed somethings, like her drawings of doors. Very symbolic. I think Lewis was there all along protecting her. Maybe he was slamming the door in Kyra’s apt? And, it was Lewis who walked in and out of the hotel sliding doors. But, then again, she did say 2x in the movie “I don’t know you” to the phantasm. And as someone here pointed out, we never actually saw a picture of Lewis, so maybe that wasn’t him in the garden, but probably was, but….that is what makes this fun to think about. The boyfriend said he felt him, but maybe it was something else he felt.
    Another thought is that Maureen had invoked the spirits by doing what she was doing. She may be in touch with Lewis, but that could have opened the doors to worse spirits; hence, the “Idk you”. Everywhere she spent “quality” time, a spirit showed up: at Kyra’s, her friends, Oman.
    Someone else said something about 13, but the room number was 329, which adds up to 14, but cool idea anyway.
    And, my own thought, was that she does see ghosts and she never died. Her friends thought she could get in touch with the netherworld, too, which is why they left her at the house in the beginning of the movie; although Gary and the friends boyfriend were skeptical.
    This was a fun movie. I totally recommend it. I like watching Kristen Stewarts acting!
    Cheers!

    Reply
  31. Leslie

    Found your site after watching the film twice…wonderful….my initial ideas have shifted because I watched the Canne press conference after the film was booed…lack of straight out ending.. ..ok, I believed that Maureen was just a gutted human being..I have heard that if a twin dies that the one left behind also dies in a sense…so the whole film was her coming to terms with her loss…I feel that Lewis was watching over her, and that the text messages, the murder and her assistance with helping the police lead her to want to move foreward, get back to her own life, her boyfriend….I thought that Lewis’ ghost was there in the kitchen with the glass, and because she didn’t catch on that he returned at the end just to let her know that he was there watching over her …I feel that she realized at the end that everything that happened was based on her grief, she caused it….now, I guess I wasn’t too far off, but in the Canne interview, the director did admit that their were no ghosts..it was all Maureen….I guess what is great is the fact that we are all looking for one answer when films are subjective….this can be frustrating and fun.

    Reply
  32. Michelle

    Watched this finally the other night. Loved Clouds but didn’t take to this one. Been thinking about it a lot, though, and one thing that I’m wondering is if there is a possibility that Maureen’s “spirit” has actually disassociated from her body? That scene in Lewis’s home where the “spirit” vomits and destroys her drawings and the table seemed to target her specifically. Maureen is continually commenting on how unhappy she is in her life — unsatisfied — but we see her passively task-oriented, even in her artwork, she is doing nothing to change her circumstance. She’s an empty shell traveling though Paris and London. She’s living through dead Lewis, through a soulless Kyra, and through her technology. Perhaps her “soul” couldn’t take it anymore and said “I’m out.”

    That being said, the boyfriend, the police interview, the over-the-top murder mystery seemed to lack the poetry of the rest of the film.

    One more thing, don’t know if it’s pertinent: did anyone else notice that she keeps picking up beverages but never actually drinks anything?

    Reply
  33. Belual

    Hi all, thank you for this nice review of course x the cool movie. In my humble opinion everything can be explained with the desire of the protagonist to have a contact with the brother that she see as a part of herself. In the house in Paris she see a female ghost vomiting another entity. This is a clear metaphore of Maureen splitting personality and creating “the ghost”. All the messages she receives are clearly coming from someone that knows her very well and that always know where she is.
    It could be the ghost of the brother, but why he should push the sister to be someone else?
    She of course murdered her employer and framed the poor Ingo leaving jewellery in the room of the Hotel, probably on his name. The fading away of Maureen when she finally confront the presence can then be easily explained. The opening of the doors that so much puzzled someone is a clear indication that a physical person, the “ghost” split personality of Maureen, is present there (real ghost goes through wall) to watch the poor Ingo getting framed! At the end she dumps the card she used to frame Ingo and she run away. First to visit the wife of her brother, then to Oman to see his boyfriend (is he real?). But you can’t runaway from yourself like the last line of the script implies. And in the last image/revelation she finally watch directly into the camera/herself …

    Reply
  34. Susan Kiefer

    Maureen is dead. She is killed by Ingo in the hotel room. It’sMaureen’s ghost opening the hotels elevator doors and lobby doors. If you notice, the texting stops in Maureen’s apartment when she receives the note under her door directing her to go to the hotel. IMO that’s when she was killed. After that we see her in the hotel in Oman and there is a paper note from her boyfriend. All the interactions in between those time frames Maureen doesn’t know she is dead. It is a Sixth Sense type of scenario.

    Reply
    • Susan Kiefer

      I see I contradicted myself in the above review. Maureen was not killed by Ingo in the hotel. She was killed in her apartment. When she received the note under her door she was dead. She was killed by the person texting her. Why would someone leave a written note when they have been texting all this time. All also the note from her boyfriend was a hand written note. Why not Skype her the info like they have been doing all along or text.

      Reply
    • Skye

      What about the point where she switches out her SIM card after leaving her apartment, but before entering the hotel ?

      Reply
  35. Rob R.

    After watching the film again, there are multipile signs meant for Maureen from her deceased twin brother Lewis (whose fulfilling his oath to contact her after death). The signs include astral swirls, bangs, water dripping, water flowing from bath, an artistic cross on the wall that later appears on a table at Lewis’s former house, glasses floating and dropping, and plenty of other signs for Maureen from Lewis. However, none of these occurances are convincing enough for Maureen. Poor Lewis, it seems like he’s really trying to keep his part of the bargain by contacting Maureen after death, but Maureen always needs more. This is why she’s “waiting” in Paris and has little else to live for. She hates her job, has no plans for the future, has no love in her life, and no passions to follow. She even says (later on) that she always followed Lewis – and it seems like she has no identity without him. So, we can surmize that she looked up to Lewis who gave her life meaning, a sense of purpose and brotherly love. Now, she is lost without him and is miserable, angry and grief-stricken. Her only purpose in life is to seek real communication with Lewis. Accordingly, when Ingo asks her what she’s going to do after hearing from Lewis, she realizes that she’ll have to move on and live her life. It’s obvious that Maureen is terribly frightened and insecure about what to do next without her twin brother whom she idolized. Okay – so let’s move forward to the hotel room scene where Maureen has received many texts from Ingo saying that he’s getting closer and closer to her. Then we hear a loud banging noise – and I agree with those of you who’ve said – this when Ingo kills Maureen. In the next scene, the camera takes us down the hotel hallway, but now, all the paintings on the wall are by Klimt who was referred to earlier as a spirtualist artist who said she channeled her art from another world. Even the design on the elevator floor looks like Klimt art. Then, the camera takes us down this empty hotel hall and the elevator door opens and closes with no one in it. Finally, the automatic doors at the front of the hotel open in sequential order. It seems that this is the disembodied Maureen who doesn’t understand that she’s dead. Soon, (in an afterlife transition) Maureen meets Lewis’s wife (Lara) at a cafe who invites her to stay with Maureen that night. Maureen accepts the offer because she’s “afraid to be alone” (because she’s in a strange place between life and death). Interestingly, Lara leaves her notebook and pencil on the cafe table, and they leave together. So, from the time of Maureen’s death in the hotel room through the end of the film – Maureen is in a vivid sort of after-life dream which is as real as real can be. This point is confirmed by Lara’s new boyfriend who explains that most religions believe that the soul wandering the Earth for a while before moving on. He tells her that she needs to let go of her grief before she can be free. He seems to be educating and guiding her about the next stage of life after life. Maureen replies that this is what her brother believed, and he was much more advanced than her. Then, Maureen remembers her brother saying that he had a dream after their mother died that was just like a waking reality where he said goodbye to her. So, from the time of her death in the hotel room – Maureen has created her own reality inside a very real dream. Finally, she takes a trip to a spiritual mountainside area in Oman. Upon arrival, her friend isn’t there, so she enters an adjoining monastary-like room where another glass is floating and falls to the ground. Next, loud bangs start answering her questions with one or two bangs (ala The Fox Sister’s seances mentioned earlier). As usual – Maureen is still searching for Lewis and asks a few questions to determine if it’s really him. However, upon asking if she’s the cause of the bangs that are answering her questions – she suddenly realizes that she’s dead – and she’s the one who’s creating this scene as a conduit for leaving the physical world and for entering the whiteness of the afterlife.

    Reply
    • Skye

      I agree with all your points. I watch a lot of movies. Barely remember the vast majority.
      But this movie snuck up on me and is still lingering in my mind.
      So happy to see the ongoing discussion about it.

      Reply
    • Suzana Correa

      Good. I buy this explanation. 🙂 I never quite understand how it is that a ghost can have a normal interaction with a living person, and the living person answers them as if they were alive – that’s why I found the hotel death challenging. But I believe you’re saying that her brother’s ex-girlfriend is not really there, at the restaurant (and later at her house) talking to her but that these scenes are part of Maureen’s imagination (because she’s creating her own reality, not knowing that she’s dead)? Ok… that has been the only sticking point for me about her having been killed in the hotel.

      Reply
      • Rob R.

        I’m still wondering about how the Cartier jewelry got into the hotel room. Any thoughts?

  36. Senta

    (Reposted on Senta’s behalf in its own thread by Taylor – dang this comment is a book!)

    Hi, Taylor,

    I just saw the movie, Personal Shopper, with my father, and we really liked it; but it is the kind of movie that deserves to be pondered. I decided to look online to see what other people felt about it and I found your site, hoping to find some insight into the movie. I showed my da all the comments here and he laughed, saying Americans look at movies differently.

    So, here is my disclaimer. My mother is French, my father is Irish American, but he was raised abroad; my sister and I were born and raised in France, so we are typical French kids. Our English is impeccable because we went to schools in England and Ireland to appease our father. I have stayed in America for a grand total of perhaps a year divided by nineteen, my current age. I am about to add three months to that as my family is staying with an aunt for the summer holiday. I like America. Anyway, given my background, if I judge American cinema from European roots then you will understand why and forgive me for it. I mean no harm.

    So where do I begin? After reading the comments here, I am blown away by how different our perceptions are. I do not know if it is because I am French, or that I do not have the imagination that Americans have. However, I do think there is a definite difference between French Cinema and American Cinema. They both have their good points and bad points, so it is fun to watch both when you have too much of the other, yes. American movies tend to be optimistic; French movies tend to be less so. American movies tend to have a definite beginning and definite end; French movies far less so. Indeed, many French movies have endings that are often mildly depressive, or open-ended in the sense that there is no real resolution. Whether it is the existential influences, humanist values, the scars of centuries of catastrophic wars, or even the agnostic/atheistic views of life after death, French movies tend to be more real than American movies. American movies are more fantasy driven then realistically driven; by this, I do not mean fantasy as in fantasy-fantasy; I simply mean they are not very realistic. And that’s not a jab! I like many American movies for just this reason – I want to be entertained and not sad at the end. Movies are an escape, so who wants realism and the schisms of life if you are trying to escape it. Life is tough enough, yes, without having to go to a movie and be saddened. But, see, this is the difference between a French girl like me raised on French Cinema because I am used to it; it is nothing to me to watch a French movie that ends too realistically. To me that is just so, i.e., I can handle it without a blink. On the other hand, Americans watch French movies and they tend to get discombobulated. They are weaned on A-B-C movies: plot introduction-plot challenge-plot resolved. Life does not work that way however. Life’s events are not A-B-C, by that, I mean it is not linear in summation; it is A-D-G-L-R-F-Q-with maybe a C resolution…but not really. So with that said…

    I think you guys are trying way too hard to make this a ghost story whilst missing the whole story. Assayas, who is a major auteur, is not making a mere ghost story. This is not a Sixth Sense knock-off, which was a fantastic movie, by the way. That was definitely a ghost story; it made no bones about it. Personal Shopper is in a very different realm and fits no mold whatsoever. Assayas freely admits that he was dabbling in the supernatural, but only because he thought it would be fun. He also said he is not caught up in a specific genre, rather he uses genres “to paint with.” I read a quote from which I paraphrase: if a ghost story genre is red, he will use that colour, but he is not going to paint his entire canvas red. He uses genres, as in multiples, to paint his canvas. Personal Shopper is multiple genres. You have a mishmash; a little of this, a little of that. How many genres did he use to make his point? And by the way, I am not saying I empirically know the point. Hardly. This movie is a thinking movie. This is not a paint-by-numbers project, which is what American movies excel at, and why the average American will not comprehend the point because it has no definitive resolution. To me, however, a good director and script-writer, will challenge you to think outside your comfort zone. After all, life events do not end with a perfect resolution, rather it very often ends with compromise, and this is where cultural differences play a role in cinema.
    Here is how I see this movie. Yes, it has elements of a ghost story. Assayas sets that up in the first few minutes of his direction. The ghost appears behind Maureen (Kristen Stewart), so we know it is not her viewpoint; she does not imagine it. This is a haunted house, and it is not a figment of Maureen’s imagination. So what does this mean? Well, it means Assayas is making it normal; it is not a big deal. In most ghost stories, there is a lot of fanfare, exposition, and dynamics before the ghost is revealed. Not in Assayas world however. He is already making a statement – there is something spiritual all around us. Depending on what religion you subscribe to, we know this already. Whether it is life after death, angels and demons, or other worlds, other dimensions interacting with ours, we have an expansive pallet to choose from. The point is, if we stop and think, we can all say that mysteries surround us – pay attention. But do we? Are we really in tune with life? Thus the movie begins.

    Who is Maureen? Well, she is a millennial, like me. When my father and I watched this the first time, the first thing he said, was, “Look, honey, they have made a movie about you.” Haha, very funny. The reason why he said that was because this girl lived by her mobile. In almost 2/3’s of the movie, she is on her mobile. It is her life. Assayas does not bang it over our heads; it is shot in a very mundane way. In every scene, it seems she is whipping out her mobile. This is a twenty-first century reality.

    My father has a rule that when we are in his presence we have to flip to airplane mode, or turn our mobiles off. They are not allowed at the dinner table, functions or family get-togethers. Indeed, when my father gave my sister and I our first smartphones, he took possession of them as soon as we stepped back into the house. Subsequently my sister and I stayed out of the house as much as possible just so that we could use them! But you get it, right? This generation is totally ruined by smartphones. It is all we do. Look anywhere, and you will see people walking whilst texting!! We live, breathe and die by this technology and we have lost all touch with meaningful interaction. Mobiles have not brought us closer; they have split us off into separate compartments. We are more alone than we have ever been. We have lost the art of organic communication. Case in point, when I was seven, my sister and I each got an iPod Touch, my father’s idea of a trainer phone. We would text each other instead of talk – we were in the same room for crying out loud! This is the detached hell we have created in our midst. I make jokes about it but psychologists have been saying as a society we are disintegrating because of social media. In some ways, and this might be a creative stretch, we are becoming ghosts, beings cut off from each other, except for our mobiles. We live in a complete disconnect.

    And what is our goal in this disconnect? To live like the people we see on social media, more ghosts in the machine. Who are these people? We have no clue except for what social media tells us. And how is this world summarized? Fashion. Whatever is in, we clothe ourselves in it. The fashion world is, to overstate, a vacuous vacuum. There is no substance there. Social media is all about personal vanity and voyeurism, thus we are caught up in what is fashionable to feel connected. We want to live like the Kardashians. We want to be them, dress like them, live like them, bling, bling. It is a very empty world.

    So, once more, who is Maureen? She is a reclusive, cut-off millennial who lives an empty life chasing after a Kardashian substitute. She is a personal shopper (how dumb is that!?) who does a job that pays well but has no personal gratification. She gets to go to all the upscale stores; in essence touch the high life, but she is never fulfilled. Yet, we keep wanting it. We chase after what we think is great but if we become a part of it, we are ashamed and unsatisfied. We mock the Kardashians, but we secretly want what they have. Even the immigrants and refugees who come to Europe (and America too, I assume) think that social media is real; they think that is the life they will be living by immigrating. They actually feel entitled to have money, cars, bling, and fancy homes handed to them for free. When they do not get it, they get angry, because this is what they see on social media. It seems to be a worldwide disconnect from any kind of life reality. My millennial friends all think the same way, that they will grow up, get jobs and live the high life. Crazy, yes?
    So, where is our story now? Expanding our trope, we have a reclusive, isolated millennial living an empty life WAITING FOR SOMETHING TO HAPPEN. In this case, she is waiting for her brother to show her a sign that there is an afterlife. Think about that. She sees ghosts, OK? So why is she asking for a sign of the afterlife? Notice how blasé she is when she talks about it. “Oh, there was a ghost, she was definitely angry; she threw up some ectoplasm but it disappeared after she disappeared; I think she is gone now.” How many of us would be so blasé after the same experience, and still be waiting for affirmation of an afterlife? So why is she still waiting for affirmation? My view, she is not paying attention. Like most of us in this world, we are so caught up in the nothingness of life and our own ennui that we have forgotten how to truly touch and interact with the world. She sees the ghosts, yet she does not see them in any reality-based way. Life will pass her by if she keeps this up.

    Cut to the phone texting sequence, which I read somewhere take up almost twenty minutes of the movie. A stalker has hacked her phone; they know who she is, where she is, and by asking her a series of creepy questions, they get into her head. That is some scary stuff. If some stranger got my number and started texting my phone, I would not be texting with them at all. I would block them. I certainly would not allow them any personal information about myself. Yet Maureen asks within seconds, “Are you Lewis?” This woman is so out of touch that she has lost all connection with real life. Someone is threatening her in the real world but she is so lost in her ennui that she does not realize the real danger she is in. She actually talks with this person and for the first time, we learn a little about who she is, much like I do when I’m texting a friend. I give away little tidbits of myself because the emotional disconnect of my mobile makes me brave. This is how I was weaned into this world – texting my feelings electronically. It is disgusting and I often hate it, so much so that I will literally turn off my mobile for days, but I always come back to it. Addiction, emotional fulfillment, whatever; that mobile is how I communicate with the world.

    So now what do we have? A millennial who is cut-off from the world, unable to interact with it on a meaningful level because she is depressed and in mourning over the death of her brother. Her life is empty both spiritually and materially, so much so that she converses dangerously with a complete stranger who is more than creepy. She is waiting for something to happen so that she can move on with her life, whatever that is supposed to be, because that is never revealed. I think she might be an artist, but I do not know if that is a profession or hobby. She appears to be someone like me, with no real goals as of yet, no real direction. I took a gap year because I do not know what I want to do. My sister has a good idea where she wants to go in life, but I am floundering, so I get Kristen’s character; I feel her ennui. I too am waiting for something to happen, whether emotional, inspirational or catastrophic to change my current outlook. I am very much like most millennials. Raised in a social media world, over saturated, over stimulated, with too many choices, thoughts and feelings, I am…sort of lost. I do not have any real faith; I am not a Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. Being somewhat agnostic there is nothing to ground me. This is what I see in this movie: a girl in turmoil who is in total disconnect, a ghost herself in a world of ghosts. I communicate electronically; my mobile is my umbilical and I am too afraid to cut it.

    Assayas is telling us more than a thriller, a ghost story, or a humanist story. He has put them all together…and he messes with us. Maureen asks more than once in this movie, “Are you messing with me?” Well, I think Assayas is messing with us, like any auteur director would. He does not beat us over the head with anything, which is what most American directors do. Take the American director, Spielberg; he bangs his themes into your head as if you are too dumb to get it. This is not necessarily a bad thing. I enjoy American movies often, but in my limited millennial experience, French Cinema is far more subtle, natural and realistic; not that film is realistic, rather the feeling you get at the end of it – that bittersweet compromise that life is not always fair and it does not play by our rules. Assayas is telling us the story of a girl who is disconnected from reality waiting for something to snap her back to reality. She is the ghost sleep-walking in her own cut-off world. Ghosts as we know them in lore are cut off from the living; they cannot really connect with us. Assayas is being creative and he tells his story in a very obtuse way, which can be discombobulating if you are not flexible. To me, when you watch French Cinema, you must relax into it; watch what is actually happening without imagining something that is not there. To me, his story is very fluid; it says exactly what it is.
    For instance, yes, there is a ghost in the story, maybe many, but a ghost is still nothing. They have nothing to offer her. They are dead. In actuality, they have nothing to do with this story; they are merely a vehicle to get you to feel something, see something about life. Assayas’ ghosts are taken for granted; they are not a grand revelation. You cannot do anything with them in the context of this story. Ask yourself, what did any of these ghosts do for the living? Nothing. Because? They are dead. There is no life there, nothing meaningful. It is an empty existence.
    For me, this is where the title comes in. I love it; I think it is a wonderful title. Nothing captures the ennui and emptiness of Maureen’s life more than her job. Personal Shopper. How vacuous a life can that be? Face it, Maureen is not alive in any meaningful way. She exists only to supply another vacuous person’s life with fashion; the key symbol of emptiness, thus she is the figurative ghost in her own story. This is my opinion, of course, and I could be very wrong. It would be nice to talk to Assayas about that to see if I am anywhere close.

    I never saw Maureen as a literal ghost however, but after reading some of the comments here, I have sat down and thought about it. My family does not buy into it but they let me entertain them with this seemingly American viewpoint. My father thinks that it is because Americans love horror. You have many horror movies and they are all derivative, but you keep making them, one after another, and I think it has affected the American movie-goers psyche where they think in certain limited tropes; which in themselves seem derivative. It is not your fault though. You have too many directors who have no imagination except to copy what has already been done, over and over. There is a joke we have that goes, how many sequels do American movies have? Answer, as many as it takes until the Americans understand it. Oi, so mean!

    Now that I have stated my POV, I can address some of the extravagant plot mechanics that people have come up with here on this site.

    I will start here – the SIM card. Over and over, people are saying that she turned the SIM card over to the police. Where do they get that when she spit out the SIM card and walked out of the store. Remember, when she bought the new SIM card, just before she springs her trap. She popped her old card from the tray and put it into her mouth. She opened the new card, popped it into the tray and back into the mobile. Then she spits out the card in her mouth and leaves the store, so the SIM card with all the evidence is gone, right?

    -The premise that she handles beverages but never drinks from them proving she is a ghost is not true. We see her down her first cup of espresso at the train station; she swigs a beer at her apartment; she downs a whole glass of vodka at Kyra’s; she sips from that infamous blooper glass on the table at the end of the movie when she sits with her brother’s girlfriend. That premise holds no water; pun intended.

    -The premise that the bearded ghost man in the window was the boyfriend of the former girlfriend to the dead brother, thus a ghost himself. Hardly. He was still in the frame when the ghost appears and the ghost is not wearing a red flannel shirt. The new boyfriend says he definitely feels Lewis’ presence, so there is a very good chance that the spirit we see is Lewis. More on this later.

    -The premise that she is wearing lighter colors in the desert, so she is a ghost. Everyone wears lighter colors in the desert because it reflects light. I never wear black when visiting a desert.

    -The premise that she does not interact with anyone in the desert so she is a ghost… Seriously? Did we see the same movie? Both men acknowledged her presence. Are they ghosts? You are reaching for straws! Stop it.

    -The premise that when Maureen’s texts go crazy, it is a ghost communicating with her faster than humanly possible to text. NO! She was on airplane mode: those texts were in limbo. When she unlocks them by going off airplane mode (watch that scene again for anyone with an iPhone, she taps the airplane icon; I use it ALL the time), the messages are in order telling her where the stalker is: I am in the car, I am outside, I am on the landing, etc. That was scary, BUT all those texts were not in the moment. They are up to forty-five minutes old, the last text being three minutes. By the time she realized he was there, he was long gone, having left the message under her door already. Do not forget he is watching his phone to see if she has read the messages, so he knew she had not read them yet.

    -The premise her boyfriend is a ghost because he sets her up in her desert apartment and is trying to introduce her to the world of the dead. This is so far-fetched as to be…wow. Someone has true imagination! OK, let us just say that person is right. So why, in an earlier scene, would he mock her for her belief in ghosts? He goes into detail mocking her for waiting to hear from her brother. If he were introducing her to the supernatural then why would he have mocked it?

    -The premise that her brother entered the hotel room at that pivotal point near the end. If that were so, then that would mean, they had interacted off-screen. Cinematically, that would make no sense. Assayas would want to film that. It would be anti-climactic for them to meet later in Oman if they had already met back at the hotel.

    -The premise that Ingo killed her and she is the one who walks out the sliding doors as a ghost… This one actually makes me stop and think. Wow… It does rather fit, especially with my analogy that she is a ghost in her own world, a dead person with no life. That would be somewhat symbolic if she turned out to be a real ghost, but I do not buy it. That would change everything and actually cheapen what Assayas has been saying cinematically for the last hour and a half, at least from my point of view: that being the alienation of our present world where we have all become symbolic ghosts in the machine. We live there, dreaming, waiting for something to awaken our dead lives so that we can find purpose. If Maureen’s character were really dead, then it loses that cachet. So who else could have walked into her room? Think. Who catches Ingo? The Police! I think they are the ones who walk into the room and set up a trap to catch Ingo. Maureen simply called the cops, period; that is why she brought the jewels. She would be crazy to bring the jewels to meet a stranger, but if she called the police, that would make more sense, because immediately after that Ingo is arrested out of seeming nowhere. Even her expression was not one of shock or surprise; she looks as one expecting whoever it was.

    However…that whole thing with the elevator doors opening and closing on their own as if an unseen spirit is seen walking away into the streets is pretty interesting, but to me nothing supports it is Maureen in the aftermath of being murdered. Assayas never leads us in that abrupt and outlandish direction. There are no tells of her being murdered. It is an interesting premise to explain the elevator and sliding door incident but nothing more; there is no logic to it before and after. If it were in any way true, it would cheapen the whole story, i.e., a small gem becomes zirconium. So we can ask, was the brother always with Maureen; was he trying to protect her from harm and now that she is safe within the police dragnet and trap, does he just walk away? Or perhaps, and this is what I believe, it was Kyra’s ghost walking off to rest now that her murderer is about to be caught. It is all conjecture; I have no valid answer. Do not forget, directors like to mess with us.

    -The premise that when she says, “Lewis, is it you…or is it just me?” means that she is a ghost. I do not get that at all. She is asking the ghost if it is her brother, or is it just her wanting it to be her brother, or unable to accept that it is. The ghost says yes. Whether her brother is telling her that, or another spirit is arguable. The point here is there nothing more she or the ghost can do. It does not mean she is asking am I ghost now, or implying that she is a ghost. That does not even fit semantically. If in a conversation I ask, “Is it just me?” what am I talking about? I am referring to my perception, right? Is it just me, i.e., am I the one reading this wrong, am I the one who is missing the point? That makes sense semantically. I do not see the thought process of her asking, “Am I a ghost?” in the question, Is it just me? I am French and I can see the semantic incongruence in English; I would think that you would be able to see it better.

    And finally – Lewis, the twice broken glass, and the final communiqué – the denouement. Is the first dropped-glass incident Lewis giving Maureen a sign? We do not know for certain, because Assayas makes very few things definitive, but we can definitely follow the logic trail. In Maureen’s conversation with the new boyfriend, he says he senses Lewis very close by. A minute later, we indeed see a spirit who is watching Maureen before deliberately dropping a glass. His sister senses the oddness but she does not pursue the correlation and challenge him as she did back at his house. In Oman, however she visually sees the poltergeist moment. It is the same identical motif, very distinct. It cannot be a coincidence. Logic: it has to be the same ghost. Maureen senses it, but she is stuck in her rut; she never really accepts the obvious because it would mean letting go of her brother. Her first question, “Lewis, is that you?” He says, YES. She asks him, are you at peace? He says, YES.

    Let us stop and explore this further. Logic says Lewis knows what she wants to hear. Right? If you were her brother, that is what you would say to give her peace, because that is what this is about. She needs the peace to move on. However, what happens next? She doubts. Even after her two-glasses-broken sign is ratified and she gets her answer that he is at peace, she loses that confidence and sinks back into doubt, and dares to second-guess and ask, “Are you not at peace?” …Seriously? Why would she do that? Because she is who she is. She cannot connect with her feelings, but imagine being the brother at this point! Now he is upset, yes? She will not let go of this; she will never believe it is him because she is not able to. He answers, NO.

    Again, let us explore this emotionally. Relax into the movie, be in the moment. What is happening? If we are emotionally logical, then if you were him, what are you feeling? How about, “I cannot be at peace as long as you are not at peace; I cannot rest until I know you are going to be OK.” He cannot say this, of course. He is a ghost, a poltergeist limited to moving a few objects, but that is what he must be feeling. So he says, NO. What is her next line? She accuses him of not being her brother because now he is contradicting his first answer but if she were thinking, connecting, she would know what he meant, that he cannot be at peace if she is not. Tragically, however, she no longer believes it is him. If you are a poltergeist, what are you going to do? Imagine how you would feel at this point, the frustration of a sister you love who will not let go of you. You love her but you cannot do anything for her because she will not accept the reality in front of her. You have given her two signs as one, answered her question, and she still refuses to accept it and now you are back to square one – she does not believe you! What will it take to snap her out of it? If you go crazy and start throwing things in anger, you will only scare her away and make her never trust a spirit again. It is over; they are at a stalemate. Until she asks again in her typical wishy-washy persona, “Lewis, is that you?”

    Again, be the brother. You cannot talk; you can only pound the floor. You are exasperated at this point, so you do not even bother to answer…because what would be the point? But then, hope of hopes, she finally asks a question that is worth answering. “Is it you…or is it just me?” Bingo. He says yes, but to me there are two ways to perceive his answer.

    Let us expand Maureen’s question. “Are you really here, or is it just me here in this room?” The nuance shifts when you enhance it. The brother says, YES. He is dead, he is not alive. Thus he is not really there because there is nothing he can do for her. He might be there in his spirit world, but it is not her world. She is alone, whether he is there or not; because the ghost world is a nothing world. The brother is saying, it is just you here, so move on, let go.

    Or we can re-interpret and expand Maureen’s initial question this way. “Is it you…or is it just me wanting it to be you because I cannot let go?” The ghost says, YES. Implying it might not be her brother. The ghost is saying, he is gone, he is not here. Or, it could be her brother and he says, YES, but what he really means is, You are making more of this than you need to. I gave you your sign; I told you I was at peace, but you refuse to believe it is me. You have a problem. Let me go, Maureen. If you let me go, I am free, and so are you…

    See, I have imagination too. And that is how it ends. White out, a moment of hope. Maybe, she will see herself now and move on to let her brother rest in peace. This is my POV, of course. You can believe otherwise, but I am sticking to it. :p
    To me, Assayas is not telling a ghost story, not even close; ghosts are just another reality in this world. He is telling us to focus on what matters. I also think this is where French and Americans are completely different in our cinematic styles and perceptions. Much of American cinema tries to say too much through the character’s dialogue; entire plot points are revealed to tie up the story and all its loose ends by dialogue alone, which is not how cinema as a visual art should work. To me, less talk is actually more. The international chorus that says American directors talk down to their audiences by over-telling a story because they are too afraid of the American audience not getting their vision or story, rings somewhat true; thus reading all the hyperbole here is mind-blowing to me. A French movie with French cinematic sensibilities has caused chaos to ensue because Americans are so used to having their stories explained to them that they cannot think for themselves. We can blame Hollywood, yes?

    If this should offend anyone, I apologize. I am a nineteen-year-old French girl; I have a limited life experience to draw from to make these kinds of observations. Anyway, being here and seeing so many people upset by an ending that is perfect to me shows how different we are in cinematic sensibilities. Maman thought it was wonderful how it ended. My friends back home saw it months ago and they told me to see it right away but I was traveling and there was no place for me to see it, but iTunes released it and I bought it sight unseen because it was made by Assayas, the same director who made the Clouds of Sils Maria. Please see that movie too; it is outstanding. Although…who knows, you may find it boring or too enigmatic. French cinema, you know? Anyway, I feel the people here are trying to make Personal Shopper into the movie, Sixth Sense, but that is like forcing a square peg into a round hole.

    This director is focused on one thing – Maureen. She is practically in every frame of this movie. Did you notice that? There is no scene without her in it. All secondary characters interact with her, never independently. There’s only one scene I can think of that focuses on a secondary character: when Ingo leaves the hotel room and runs into the waiting police. We only learn of his capture through Maureen in the next scene. The director almost jump cuts that whole resolution. Assayas is not interested in telling you how he got caught because to reveal that would bog down the movie in a needless explanation. This movie is all about Maureen; if she leaves the camera frame, we will get antsy; if the subject matter deflects onto a secondary storyline, we will get antsy. She is in every scene and everyone reacts to her, so how can she be a ghost? If she were, then everything we have seen in this movie would become null and void. This movie is deeper than that.

    For me, being a millennial, I understood it instantly. It was very much in my face. How can you not get it? If you strip away the ghost story genre and the thriller/slasher genre, what do you have left? A girl who is lost in ennui, nurtured and guided by her mobile in a cut-off landscape of loneliness and despair, waiting for something to happen; to perhaps even rescue her soul from the purgatory of her present life. That, to me, is the movie right there. The ghost storyline merely helps tell it with its own innate symbolism and the mystery/thriller storyline simply reveals how disparate and disconnected she is from reality; she cannot see the mortal danger she is in. These sub-genres enhance the story to show what we need to understand about Maureen but they are not the central story as most of the comments here are trying to make it. To me, this is what makes this movie interesting because Assayas uses the medium of film to entertain you, to mess with you, and to ultimately make you think. If a director can get you to think, then he has done his job.

    So in this age of snowflakes and PC, if I have offended anyone by my words, if I have offended any Americans by my thoughts of American Cinema vs French Cinema, American audiences vs French audiences; if I have offended my own peeps by misrepresenting French sensibilities; if I have offended anyone’s sense of self; if I have misrepresented my millennial cohorts, then I apologize. I meant no harm and I am certainly able to freely admit that my POV can be very wrong, that Assayas meant all along to rip off the movie, Sixth Sense, with an obtuse French version of the same thematic movie…but I highly doubt it. I have high confidence in my director. :p

    Reply
    • Ari

      (Reposted in the new correct location by Taylor – anyone else need more comment editing and arranging done? I am now only charging $19.95 a switch! Hahah. )

      Senta, thank you for everything that you said. Merci beaucoup!!!

      Above all, thank you for reminding us that this is a European/French film. It all makes sense once we realize that very specific cultural detail. Even the side themes are mini conversations of the whole: the press conference for the runaway gorillas, and an alternate career working in the fashion industry.

      THANK. YOU! Please do recommend more movies like this from your side of the pond. Looking forward to your comments on the other existing discussions here as well.

      Reply
      • Senta

        Thank you, Taylor, now I can respond to Ari! You are very nice. Can I pay you in comments instead? 😀

        @Ari Thank you for your kind words! I was expecting Americans to come at me with torches and pitchforks. You set me at ease. Oh, and I followed your advice, (and my father’s too) and asked Taylor if he would reposition my comment independent of a thread so that I could reply to you, and he did it! 🙂

        Because I am somewhat self-conscious over everything I have written about French and American cinema, I must state again that I do like American movies. They are fun and from what I have seen very expensive to make! o_0 We do not have budgets like that in France. French movies tend to be small and more mundane; French directors tend to take a vignette and expand on it to tell a story about life. Americans are far more grandiose in scope and they are very big on special effects, yes, so they are like a Disneyland ride: very fun. However, when French movies are made by auteurs like Assayas, they appear complicated to American audiences. This is because Assayas uses the medium of film differently than most American directors, who use it mainly to tell a straight narrative. Auteurs resort to camera placement, angles, pans, etc to paint a character, an instance, or plot device, i.e., the images tell the story more than dialogue. Technically, this is how it should be. Film as an art form is visual, and because vision is our strongest and most powerful sense (most people would rather lose all their other senses than lose their sight), it does not need dialogue to tell a story. If I gave you a camera and said, tell me a story without dialogue, you would have to resort to symbols and motifs to replace words in telling the viewer something about the world the characters inhabit. This is French Cinema; except it also has words, but the film comes first.

        My aunt, who I am staying with for the summer, says that “in French auteur films, nothing is ever what it seems, yet it is exactly what it is.” You have to ponder that to get it, but I think she captured the essence. It is like the ghost story in Personal Shopper is not the story; it is the isolation of Maureen that is the story, but the cinematic ghosts reveal her to you. She is as empty and cut-off as the ghosts in the story. The ghosts cannot communicate with the living any better than she communicates with the world. That sense of isolation and loneliness in an electronic world is what you are seeing but Americans are so used to fixed genres they only see the ghost story, and because the movie is enigmatic (typical French Cinema), they are trying to make sense of it. Over and over again, people say, “What a stupid title. It should be something to do with ghosts.” But to me, that is not what Assayas is trying to convey in his film. The story is indeed about a personal shopper, the most useless, vacuous, unfulfilling job you can think of. Maureen is a millennial with no rudder, no destination with only her mobile as her form of connection. The ghost story is merely there to enhance Maureen. I find it so strange and wonderful to read how Americans interpret this film; they fixate on one point and they will hammer and pound their theories, trying to make them fit into the movie no matter the cost. Every comment here is trying to break down the ghost story whilst missing the rest of the film. I can quote Maureen at this point, “Is it you, or is it just me?” 🙂

        A year from now, Assayas may say that Personal Shopper was a ghost story and that Maureen was a ghost and he will tell us how he did that. I think I would be disappointed but I have been wrong many times before. I wrote my critique as I saw the film but it is not the absolute, nor is it meant to be. I am just like everyone else here – I have only a personal opinion to offer.

        I must make one correction. My father read my review and immediately protested. I did not get an iPod Touch on my seventh birthday. That is when I got my first iPod and that is where my brain was when I was writing out my thoughts in the “book” above. My father said he gave us the iPod touch when we were about nine or ten. He would never give an iPod Touch to a seven year old. True that. Since I cannot correct my original tome, I must do it here.

        And I will also state, with full permission from my da, that I am still eighteen, but ALMOST nineteen…sort of. :p When you are young, you hedge to be older; someday when I am older, I will no doubt hedge to be younger. C’est la vie. I have graduated my terminal year and am taking a year off before uni, what is commonly called a gap year in Europe, to figure things out. My sister is already at uni but she took some time off to travel with me so she will not go back until winter session = sister support. I think this is why Personal Shopper resonated with me. I understand ennui and the sense of not knowing what to do next with my life. I really have no clue right now. I have artistic leanings but my father said, that is fine, but he is still sending me to uni to learn a viable profession. Uni is expensive however, and that weight is frightening. To spend my da’s money and fail would be a nightmare. I love him, so it is a lot of pressure. Thus, my gap year. It was actually his suggestion, because he took a gap year under the same life stress. Daughter like father. 🙂 I might be staying in America beyond the summer to figure out some things. My aunt is wonderful; she is very supportive. Living in her country home, I am at ease. She has one of those large Mac computers with a huge monitor where my sister and I have sat in front of until four in the morning watching Netflix! They have a type of Netflix in Europe but we do not have it. Being in a foreign country, we have used her e-mail account, her Amazon account and her myriad other internet accounts to acclimate and feel a part of that vast internet freeway in America. You guys are very consumer oriented. Wow. Soon my sister and I are going on a road trip that will take us all the way to California. I have been there once when I was little. It will be nice to see the Pacific ocean again. Hopefully in this time of disconnect and trepidation over what I want to do with my life, I will not run into any ghosts. …Yes, I am laughing. 😀

      • Ari

        Thank you, brother. <3

        Senta, just to give you a cultural context of my background, I believe I am a Xennial exposed to mostly American books and movies. In uni, I got to appreciate Asian and European film as well. Kudos to Assayas, I think he was able to capture this/our generation's continuing dilemmas, fears, and state of limbo. [One thing though, a hardcore Millennial would actually find fulfillment in becoming a personal shopper methinks.]

        My instinctual interpretation of "Is it just me?" was to reference "The Babadook"… ohhh it was all just her. But, as you have made it clear, I have gotten over the ending and would like to think about other details Assayas included in telling the story.

        One question that nobody has asked here is: What was all that abstract art thing all about? Was that just a red herring? Or was there any significance to it? I really thought (and hoped) it would turn out to be some sort of time travel subplot!!! That would have been awesome if the ghost in the house turned out to be the abstract painter. haha

      • Senta

        I had to look up Xennial. http://mentalfloss.com/article/502250/how-tell-if-youre-xennial Hmm…this is interesting. I have not heard of this, but I like the way it reads: you have a normal childhood and then grow into social media. That sounds nice because you are already an adult and can filter the internet in a way a child cannot; plus you will appreciate the technology in a way I never will. I grew up with it from birth. Being a businessman, my father was always on his mobile or laptop. Maman is a programmer, so computers are hardwired into her children. My parents could not really protect their daughters from the world of social media unless we lived in a cave.

        Personally, I hate the term millennial and all the social detritus that comes with it. I would like to be a Xennial; so much more mature and sedate. 🙂 And, yes, I think it would be fun to be a personal shopper if you like the fashion world. I do not. I grew up in a well-to-do family, which allowed me connections to such venues but I never took advantage of them. I think I saw at a young age, and this is what I hate, the emptiness of money, status and fashion (cars, clothes, houses, art, jewelry, etc). I experienced too much too soon. When you are still a child, you are very sensitive to the emotions that surround you. You can sense the superficiality of others even though you do not understand it and it can depress you if you are not strong. You grow up fast in ways you should not and stunted in ways that nurture your humanity if you wish to be happy and well-balanced as an adult.

        Maureen is hard to read. Kristin Stewart is known for her poker face which gives the impression that she does not play well with others. I first saw her in Twilight, a regrettable movie, with zero acting skill. I forgot all about her and then one day I was on YouTube and I saw a movie of hers called, SPEAK. It was made before Twilight. It was based on the award-winning book, which I have read only recently – powerful stuff. I was basically only a child when I saw SPEAK but as a girl, it spoke to my heart and became a cautionary tale. Based on that movie, I liked Stewart, even though every movie after that was the Twilight Series which was all trash; absolutely horrid. It was not until I saw her in WELCOME TO THE RILEY’S that I was moved again by her skill to play the outcast. Then came CAMP X-RAY and the CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA, and now PERSONAL SHOPPER. Stewart is now one of my favorite actors and I do not have many, not being a cinemaphile. I would have to say PERSONAL SHOPPER is one of my favorite movies of late. FYI, I have not seen many movies. My family was never into movies. We had a television but we rarely ever watched it except if someone brought home a DVD. My family are readers and closet musicians. We spend most nights talking about what we read. If I were to describe myself I would have to say that I am a serious person, perhaps too serious. My sister is more out-going and extroverted. I am literally more like a Kristin Stewart character: poker-faced and not easy to crack. Perhaps again, it is why Maureen resonates with me. She is way too serious. Count how many times she smiles in the movie? …Right? 🙂 She does not seem to enjoy her job and the people she must interact with do not seem to enjoy their jobs either. They are all very businesslike and somewhat antiseptic. I do not know if this is how Assayas wanted to show the fashion world, or if he did it to make it seem empty and somewhat removed. Not everything means something, but everything you see can be exactly what the director wants you to feel.

        I think the injection of the abstract art in PERSONAL SHOPPER could be a visual tell; a deliberate echo of the movie itself. Abstract art is in the eye of the beholder because there is nothing humanly tangible in pure abstract art. It is merely random or uniformed lines, circles, and colors thrown together on a canvas. There is nothing there except for what you want to see or interpret. I think it is funny when people talk about abstract art and describe it as this or that, or how the painter is trying to say this or that. Really? Who says? The artist never tells anyone what they are painting, so what anyone says about an abstract painting is pure conjecture, their POV. Perhaps this movie is something of the same. It is very abstract. Count the genres. This movie is loaded with them; Assayas admits that much. You may have often heard that it is never good to mix genres, like aliens and cowboys, fantasy with science fiction, and to those extents it is true, but Assayas gets away with it, creating something very abstract where nothing is ever what it seems to be, but might in all actuality be exactly what it is supposed to be.

        Abstract art and a time-travel subplot? Hmm…you are a very imaginative American. I like this. So how would this time travel plot play out in regards to this movie? Entertain us. 🙂

        I have not seen this Babadook. I have googled it and if it was the same movie you are talking about (a mother and son battling a supernatural creature that is haunting the boy), it is not my kind of movie. I do not like scary movies; this is a very American thing. My sister said to ask you why Americans like this kind of movie? You like to be scared? Americans are very brave indeed. I wiki-ed the movie, BABADOOK and read the plot. It says it ends with the mother trapping the entity in a basement where she feeds it worms. …I do not understand. So you are saying the ending to this movie is like the ending to PERSONAL SHOPPER? My sister and I say you must explain yourself. We are listening. 🙂

      • Ari

        Assayas might be 2-3 generations away from fully understanding today’s youth, but this movie shows he understands the different shades of loneliness and being alone.

        For the record, I am Filipino. We are a unique people, Asian-islanders in essence, American in sensibilities, colonial-Spanish by heritage. My extended family reflects the modern diaspora: my mother and sisters are American citizens and my paternal aunt is a French citizen.

        ABSTRACT ART + TIME: There is a concept I found recently of “remembering the future”. I have not thought much about it, but I imagined that the art in the movie could have been remembered by the artist to show Maureen a message from his brother or parents. That message could be anything that would move the story forward in soooo many directions, or in loops. But, that was just something I thought while watching the movie and I got a bit sad that it wasn’t used.

        BABADOOK: This is Australian apparently. But, there are soooo many Asian horror movies that are super cool: Thai (Shutter), Japanese (The Ring), Korean (Train to Busan). I don’t think Americans have the monopoly of enjoying scaring themselves. So, Babadook. SPOILER ALERT: In the end, the Babadook was just conjured by the mother because of her grief. It was just her. Some interpretations actually says that the Babadook represents the mother’s grief over her husband’s death.

      • Taylor Holmes

        Dude,
        I love Manila. Have been a number of times. First time there I was shocked at how American it was. So I asked my taxi driver and he SCHOOLED me in Philippines history and American imperialism 101. So I went and got a book on the subject I was so surprised. But yeah! Love the Philippines. Have been all over the islands for work. Studied the culture and the online capabilities as they relate to non-profits for over a year. Really fascinating study.

        Who knew!?

      • Senta

        Assayas might have been deliberately trying to channel millennials in his movie, although I do not think it was a conscious attempt to portray us particularly, rather he merely used a somewhat iconic actress (I do not say iconic to mean Kristin has that kind of lasting cachet, rather she plays the same basic detached person in every movie) that everyone recognizes to play his central protagonist. The heavy dependence on social media is parlayed into a story about a millennial, although I do not feel that was his truest intent to represent us. I think his intent was to show a disconnected person in this age of superficiality and social media. Kristin lives on her mobile. It is her “medium” to the outside world, much as she is a medium to the spirits that inhabit it. The trick in seeing and understanding certain motifs and symbols is to not get too caught up in them, but to let the story tell itself without getting in the way. And yes, I am laughing at my wishy-washy contradiction.

        You are Filipino! This is wonderful! Pansit and lumpia! I am being silly perhaps but it is through food that I learn of most cultures. At my school there were two Filipino sisters; I loved their accents even though I have an accent myself (a cross between UK English and French). They spoke Tagalog, so when they spoke English it sounded very pretty to me ears. At any party, school function, club buffets, they would make pansit and lumpia, not to mention adobos of different meats. They graduated before me so I missed them when they were gone. They always treated me like a little sister, being three or more years older if I remember right. I remember them as always laughing and being very physical; they liked to hold my hand or put their arm around my shoulders when we walked down the halls. Good memories. I have never been to your country. I have been to Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam, so that is my resume for the Eastern Pacific hemisphere. Someday perhaps I will be able to go to your country, yes?

        Ah, I see. I like the concept and it would have been interesting to incorporate such a time portal into the story, but because that is rather complicated and unique vehicle, something one could base an entire movie on, it would have changed Assayas narrative into a true ghost story; which I still feel was not his full intent. But I like your imagination. Formidable!

        Re: Babadook. That is a scary and chilling ending. Brrr… That makes sense though, that perhaps Maureen was the one conjuring up the spirits, that in the end her psyche was the poltergeist that floats the glass. Hmm, something to ponder. Then we have to ask, what would that mean? What is Assayas saying if she is the one causing all the ghosts to appear? How does that play into the story?

        In contrast, I think of this movie with the American Actor, Eastwood. I cannot think of his first name off the top of my head, but you probably recognize the name. He is famous for his cowboy movies and tough action figures. He made a movie where a cowboy rides out of nowhere in the desert to a small town. This town is being terrorized by bad people. Eastwood kills them all and rides back out into the desert. Throughout the movie there are flashbacks of him being whipped and beaten by the bad men a long time ago, so this becomes a revenge movie, except the twist was, he was a ghost the whole time. He was actually murdered by the bad people and the townspeople stood by and let it happen because they were all cowards; so Eastwood has his comeuppance on these people also. Anyway, even though he was a ghost, people could actually see him, talk to him, touch him; he even had sex, but he was a ghost, a very real tangible person. The movie is far more complicated than I am relating it, but the full impact does not hit you until the end when he rides off into the desert and disappears. So Maureen could be one of those kinds of ghosts but it would not make sense. What would be the point? This is an Assayas movie and nothing in this cinema verifies or validates her being a ghost from beginning to end, or being murdered at the end. It would be the worst scripting in the world. But that is my opinion. 🙂

        I like many Asian movies. I recently saw THE MAN FROM NOWHERE, and even though I did not like the violence (zut!), I liked the dynamic between the man and the little girl. If you have not seen it, I recommend it, but it is violent. And you are right, it is not just Americans who like scary movies. The Koreans own the market on scary movies, and America keeps knocking them off with American versions that I am told are never as good. American film companies are very derivative. It seems they do not have a lot of imagination in Hollywood; they have money but no true creativity. They knock off everything. They say the Chinese are the greatest counterfeiters in the world; they have flooded the market with cheap knockoffs, but America does it in film. 🙂 In Europe there was a Swedish film a few years ago called LET THE RIGHT ONE IN. It was a very somber and somewhat touching tale of a child vampire, told in a very realistic way sans any kind of cinematic romance; it was very gritty. The director cast unknowns to play the leads and these kids were fantastic because you could not see them acting. They were themselves which is what gave the movie its gravitas. It was a small sensation throughout Europe. Well, the Americans made a knockoff called LET ME IN with the girl from THE CLOUDS OF SILS MARIA (when she was much younger). It had high production values but to me it was pointless. It was almost frame for frame the exact same movie and the acting was typical by the numbers with very little nuance. To me it was flat, comparing in no way to the original which is a gem.

        Did you see the movie THE GIRL WITH ALL THE GIFTS? It is playing on Amazon Prime right now. I watched it on my aunt’s computer. She has an Amazon account. I am not a fan of zombie movies but my father talked me into watching it with him because it is basically a UK movie, shot by a Scottish director, and starring Irish and English actors. I cannot say I liked it, but I was able to get through it because it does not revel in gore. It is more cerebral. Watch it if you have Prime, and tell me what you think. I have a short three comment thread with Taylor. 🙂

    • Irene

      Hello from Australia Senta and thank you for your explanation which makes sense now. I am a late baby boomer and my son is a millennial and yes at times lost or waiting for something to happen. And communication is the iPhone.

      But yes your explanation is the best. I have watched the movie 3 times. I never believed Maureen was killed, the only thing that stumped me was the elevator scene. I kept asking why would a ghost leave in an elevator and go through the sliding doors? Ghosts simply dissolve.

      Who was it? Was it Maureen’s mind leaving? I don’t think it was a ghost. It was a metaphoric scene about her mind. She was out of there. The case was closed. She could leave Paris.

      The end of the movie was the best explanation too.
      It makes sense. Of course her brother is upset. She does not get it; her mind cannot fully except it’s him. Maybe when she says or is it just me she finally realises that’s these are the only signs and except it. Movie ends.

      Reply
      • Lee

        Senta, you are obviously a gifted and astute film goer! Your attention to detail is astonishing! I enjoyed your insights immensely and, in a weird way, felt somewhat comforted by your analysis of the film’s logic! I was also enlightened by your points on the cultural differences in European film making which was quite necessary in understanding elements of this film. I think as Americans we tend to lose track of these subtleties when the film touches on horror and the star is an American; albeit in a French movie. Lest I get to involved in critiquing your critique, I will get to my comments on the film.

        I regret coming to the party so late as I’ve only just seen Personal Shopper….2 times in the past 3 days. I am irked by this film! I think it is potentially a great movie, and I enjoyed Kristen Stewart’s performance beyond description; but, it is precisely because of the promise of this movie that I am so frustrated by the short cut taken by the filmmaker…..more about this in a moment.

        Let me first state that you are correct and there is no logic tree that either supports Maureen being murdered in the movie, or that she was a psychotic killer; as suggested by many. You are again correct that we stretch the facts as presented by the film to fit some payoff we believe we are owed based on American cinematic norms. Having said that, the only reason I find we are having problems with the meaning of this movie is because of the phantom door opening scene in the hotel after the fade to black in room 329. I pose that without this scene, things become much clearer, even the final scene in the movie is distorted by this one element. Perhaps this is what the filmmaker wanted; to confuse matters. However, I believe he cheats with this short cut! There is no logical reason for this scene unless it is to confuse the audience without resolve. Whether this is the ghost of Lewis, Kyra, or Maureen, it is not supported by anything that happened subsequent to that scene, or prior to it. If the filmmaker intended any of this, it would only be fair to give clues. This scene was gratuitous and deliberately misleading. In fact, without this scene, the movie is much more conventional to sum up; a star (Maureen’s employer) is murdered by a jealous boyfriend who seeks to frame a low level and envious employee whom hates her boss. Perhaps the genius of the scene is that without it we are not talking about the film’s meaning.

        I agree, the movie is about Maureen. She is depressed due to the loss of her brother and due to her circumstances in general. She is unfulfilled and looking for something. You are much more eloquent on this point than I could ever be given your generational affinity for this character. But I find it interesting that the lack of romance in her life, despite living in Paris, is not discussed more, or at all. She is cut off, reclusive, depressed, afraid, but she avoids her boyfriends first skype attempt because she is reading. Maureen reluctantly answers the call the second time. She doesn’t go to him soon after her brother’s death as suggested by her sister-in-law or her boyfriend. She obviously has doubts about this relationship, so much so that she is willing to dress up for a stranger and meet him/her at a hotel room in the blind. The only meaningful conversations she has where she is willing to reveal herself is with Ingo when they first meet in Kyra’s apartment and the phantom texter.
        In fact, during her train trip texting odyssey, the nature of the texts subtly change from grief driven responses to self exploration and titillation. You get the impression she is excited and momentarily distracted from from the thought of her brother. She is in want of her brother, self fulfillment, and I believe a meaningful romantic relationship. Maybe this is all predicated on her depression, maybe without the loss of her brother, she isn’t questioning her lot in life. I don’t know.

        I give the filmmaker 3 of 5 stars for execution and a perfect score for stimulating discussion.

  37. L

    Neha and Senta IMHO offered perceptions which seem more accurate in what Assayas’ film may have created for our entertainment. But it seems this very well done “makes you think” ghost/murder mystery and Kristen Stewart’s ability to keep our eyes riveted on her has caused most folks to miss the importance of a particular introduction of a person in this movie: Hilma af Klimt. Place her name in Search and read about her on Wikipedia. She was a real person who lived an intriguing life. Assayas may think so, too, more than viewers caught on.

    Hilma af Klimt is an important key to understanding what the Maureen character is experiencing and is coming into realization.

    Klimt believed “…in the importance of the so-called “high masters.” It would seem Maureen’s psychic abilities, although in the beginning of the movie not as advanced as was her late twin brother’s, were becoming much improved by movie’s end.

    She finally became aware of her twin brother’s way of communicating but also seemed to realize another presence accompanied him…perhaps Klimt’s “High Masters.”

    The scene in room 329 played a bit of a red herring but is the artistic way of presenting events mirroring Maureen’s stress and disconnectedness in discovering Ingo’s psychopathy. The look on her face (grim, intense) as the Cartier box ejects and the noise of a door opening was the police entering the room. At some point, the police set up a watchful command to apprehend Ingo, the person texting and stalking Maureen.

    Kristen Stewart presents as the kind of artist who is far removed from ego and pretense. I can appreciate why Mr. Assayas chose her to play this role.

    What I like best about European films is the way characters are “raw”–hair and makeup isn’t in a tidy place every scene. Australian films also share in that kind of realism. Although, as a movie-going “American” to some of you, I’m just a human being like everybody else who likes to watch a good film from time to time. I’m partial to certain Korean and other Asian filmmakers due to their profound meaningfulness interwoven amid drama.

    I had watched the over- hyped Rogue One and Life (thanks, but Alien was already done plus sequels) prior to watching Personal Shopper and this film was by far much better, held attention from beginning to end.

    Sorry to ramble on…I guess it’s a comfortable site in which to emote with only few pop-up trolls to suffer.

    Thank you, Taylor, for creating this awesome forum/site.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      Not going to respond specifically, suffice it to say, I love that you shared a bucket full of ideas. And heck ya, it’s a safe place to say what you think. Even if you disagree… well. Not with me. That’s not allowed. hahahah. But yeah… I want to hear what people really think. And in a society that doesn’t do much in the way of thinking?!? Yeah, opine all you like here. Trolling won’t be happening here. And if I miss people being mean, feel free to let me know and I’ll shut it down.

      Reply
      • L

        Forgot to mention the video short “Green Dot” you provided, Taylor, fit perfectly in relation to the “Personal Shopper” movie and I adored it , too.

        I was watching an old Hollywood classic film the other day titled, “Sabrina” (the original black and white). There’s a scene where Sabrina is invited by a suitor in the film up to his very modern, swanky penthouse-type business office. She marvels at all the innovative communication devices which cracked me up because all those devices are obsolete today.

        Perhaps Personal Shopper will be considered a classic film someday in which future viewers will laugh at Maureen’s aptly named “co-star.”

    • Senta

      Hi, L

      Thank you for massaging my ego. 🙂 I am amazed you got through my “book,” as Taylor calls it. You get a medal just for that alone.

      The cool thing about auteur films, and PERSONAL SHOPPER is definitely in that category, is that nothing can be taken for granted; yet at the same time, you accept what you see as part of the film’s chosen reality. It sounds tricky but it makes sense. In Assayas’ world, nothing is what seems, yet it is exactly what it is. The ghosts are real, and not a figment of Maureen’s mind; they exist without fanfare. Maureen says she is a medium, and she is exactly that, without fanfare. There is no build-up like in other movies where the medium is pivotal and comes with cinematic exposition. Not here. Maureen merely wanders around the house in such a mundane way as to negate any kind of fear factor. In truth, it is rather dull; not to say boring, no! It is merely presented as an everyday normal situation. She is not scared, so why should we be scared. Indeed, it is so mundane and matter of fact compared to most Hollywood supernatural/horror films that people weaned on those types of movies quickly get bored and listless. I was not raised on Hollywood horror, so Maureen wandering around a dark house seemed quite natural to me. Why should it be more than that? Kristen’s presence held me riveted because few current actors today can play detached better than her. She does not appear to be acting, so whether it is her true character or a very good act, she is palpable in every scene she is in, and she is in almost every scene of this movie.

      Even the horror/thriller aspect is presented without build-up or fanfare. Kyra is murdered, just like that. No one sees it coming, because the movie is not that kind of movie. This is not a slasher/thriller; it merely cribs, borrows and mixes genres together as only auteurs can do. And here is the thing, everything is from Maureen’s POV; never someone else’s. We feel what she feels when the meandering plot crosses her path. There are ghosts in a house, her on-going ennui, living on her phone, blandly shopping for clothes, getting into a dangerous convo with a stranger, finding a dead body, running away, etc. Everything is so normal and matter of fact. The one scary part for me was when she goes off airplane mode and all those messages unravel across her mobile screen. That was genius. But overall, everything is presented in such a way that is very removed and somewhat emotionally antiseptic in approach. This is Maureen’s very real world, and in only a few days, you meandered through it like a pedestrian. The big question we all have is what exactly did it mean? That is the fun part and like our personalities, we all see something different, and that is what makes it fun, no matter how outlandish.

      Hilma Klint, considering she is just a reference point, is covered in pretty good detail in the movie. Her abstract art and spiritualism are shown to us in a very Google way. 🙂 We do what Maureen does all day long: we look stuff up on our mobiles/computers. And like you said, there might be something there that Assayas was trying to channel; perhaps some supernatural element or philosophy that would explain aspects of Maureen’s gift. I do not know. For me, Klint was just a motif, or an Easter egg as Americans say about geeky things directors put into their movies for fangirls/boys to find and/or explore. Ari brought up the same point you did – was there something there that we are missing; after all her paintings and designs do appear later in the movie, or at least appear to. Indeed, during the notorious scene with the opening/closing elevator doors, there are abstract paintings all down the hall to the elevator. More motifs? Personally, I think the abstract art is a motif itself because Assayas has created a very abstract movie and who is to say that your premise does not fit neatly into it. What if Assayas’ movie is a Klint painting translated to film? Ah, now there is a thought! You might be onto something.

      There is one thing I noticed and I am sure it is not a coincidence. We have that long shot of the halls, the camera TURNS around as it moves and it settles on an elevator door opening and closing; opening and closing again in the lobby; and then we have the shot of the sliding doors. In the very next scene, Ingo goes down the exact same hall, pushes a button for an elevator but the one behind him opens, the exact same one the alleged “ghost” took. He TURNS around mimicking the previous camera movement of the “ghost” and enters the elevator; the door closes. The next cut is the lobby with the exact same framing of the elevator door opening, only this time Ingo is there. He walks out, the camera follows him in a repeat of the previous scene, where he goes through the sliding doors. Why do we have two identical long one-shot scenes in a row? The first time with no one there, the second time with Ingo. What does that mean? What is the correlation? Also those two scenes, at least from what I remember, are the only scenes in the entire movie that do not involve Maureen; they are the only scenes that operate independent of her; they are from someone else’s POV. …Will Assayas ever tell us? 🙂

      I saw Rogue One. You would have to be a Star Wars fan to get that one. I was completely in the dark. I did not understand the end until my friends explained it to me. It was the prequel to the first Star Wars movie ever made! Who knew, there was no way for me to see that coming. In my defense, I never saw the first Star Wars. I am French in case you did not know that, and even though Star Wars is world famous, I did not see the original. The original was made decades before I was born, so I only know of it. I did see one of them; I do not remember which one. It must have made a real impression… 😀 As for Rogue One, I did like the robot. He was very funny in a dry, laconic way that had this geek laughing. Other than that, I did not understand the movie because it was short on character and plot exposition so there was no way for me to get emotionally invested; although I did feel bad when everyone died. How tragic that the father created the weapon that would kill his own daughter. Very sad.

      You are not rambling. You are sharing. 🙂 I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

      Reply
      • L

        Senta, my faux pas for somehow missing and not reading Ari’s input even though I’d read everyone’s unique and respected perceptions. Had I read Ari’s input, I needn’t have added my two-cents.

        I am so impressed by your viewpoints which seem “spot on” IMHO about Personal Shopper that I think caused me to skip Ari’s awesome comments and shared.

        It was amusing your thoughts of Americans coming at you with “torches and pitchforks.” Nah! Won’t ever happen…because (unfortunately) guns and opioids would be the more likely things.

        I am French, too, as well as a slew of other nationalities. As much as I enjoy sci-fi movies, very few seem to present a diverse culture of our world’s people. I love the various ETs, robots, AIs created though. The robot in Rogue One was the only thing I liked about that movie. And Senta, I’m depending on you Millennials to save the world.

    • Senta

      My sister said I had to respond to your comment that you are counting on millennials to save the world. 🙂 She found this very encouraging, yet unrealistic. My sister has no faith in our generation. To her, we are lost. Whether it is the fault of the preceding generation’s failures in government/education, or the present generations ignorance and vacuity, we are “screwed.” Most millennials in America are SJWs, liberals, and leftists. They are the ones protesting on campuses shutting down free speech with violence and threats of death. They are literally destroying their own country, not saving it. They accuse everyone of being racist when they do not even understand the meaning of the word. My aunt, who is American, says she has never seen anything like this and it is only getting worse.

      So I am caught in a crossfire; not knowing where to go, what to do, or what to believe in. I hope I can snap out of it, find my center. It is why Maureen spoke to me on a visceral level. I am waiting for something to happen, a clarity, epiphany, something, anything. It is not easy being eighteen in a world that wants to eat you alive.

      More and more, I am coming to believe that much of PERSONAL SHOPPER is Maureen dealing with grief and her inability to communicate that grief. She has major communication issues which is symbolized in all her relationships. She communicates with Kyra through her mobile for much of the movie. She communicates with her detached boyfriend via Skype. She tries to talk to her brother through other spirits. Ingo gets into her head via text because she opened herself up to it, thinking it might be her brother. She is trying to find closure with Lewis but she is failing. She lives in a very depressed centrifugal world, maybe even emotionally claustrophobic. It is this grief that makes her sensitive to the spirit world where we are never certain who is who. Assayas never gels it together for us. This is French style cinema. He creates the triggers and moods, and you must interpret it for yourself. You may be right, you may be wrong; either way, he is not going to tell you. Other critics may come up with viable POVs, but Assayas will remain mum. This is the beauty of it, and what raises it above most Hollywood cinema.

      I am coming to reinterpret that last scene, when she asks, “or is just me?” What if it is something so simple as her inability to accept his death. Her grief is creating a schism and the ghosts are both separate entities and a part of her grief manifested. Remember the first ghost is very unhappy. I think when the final ghost, possibly Lewis, says it is her, something clicks inside Maureen, something peaceful, like she needed to hear that. The relief on her face is palpable as the screen whites out. Consider it is the only whiteout in a movie of blackouts.

      Maureen has not dealt with her brother inwardly. Her life has been a series of superficial communications with the world via computer and mobile. Grief is not a superficial in nature, it is deeply internal. Throughout the movie Maureen is dealing externally with her grief, deflecting onto her mobile her communications with those around her. We deflect when we are depressed, thinking we are dealing with our pain by not facing it. At some point we have to face our pain; we have to take responsibility for ourselves and not depend on others (in this case spirits) to mend us. It is not until the end that Maureen realizes that she has to heal herself. She has to accept her brother’s death and move on. It is me, her psyche admits; my grief has cut me off and I must be the one to choose to get back into the race. I like to think her journey to true healing has begun in that final whiteout.

      Did you also notice that it is only when she left Paris and all the emotional baggage that it carried, to physically be with her boyfriend in the desert a million miles away, that Lewis (?) gives her the final communique. To me there is something cathartic there, wherein Maureen makes a concerted effort to give up the whole “message from beyond” scenario and chooses to move forward with her life (symbolically acknowledging her grief). For this effort, she is rewarded with her desire to speak with her brother. It is one of those things I noticed but never wrote about before because there is so much to say about this cinema. Whether it means anything is not the point. It is a nuance, a scriptwriter’s choice, a director’s direction; it is simply so.

      I love this movie so much. 🙂

      Reply
      • Taylor Holmes

        I’ve been keeping my head down on this thread – no reason, just love reading the back and forth – and I have to say, this is one of my favorite conversations I’ve ever watched play out. Brilliant. 10% about the movie, 90% about our worries, insecurities, futures, … its fantastic.

        Love love love it.
        I’ll be over that way ——->
        If you need me.
        Tay

      • L

        Senta, well said! You convey thoughtful intelligence that is a joy to read.

        As I was about to re-watch Personal Shopper again, I came across a review on a movie app in which the reviewer lamented, “…please, Mr. Assayas, share with us mere mortals the meaning of this movie’s end.” Because of this, I did not re-watch as it seemed clear Assayas (as you mention, Senta) provided a film open to our imaginations, unique perceptions and how we relate through past experiences and/or where we are now. Only Assayas can place the period at the end of all discussions regarding Personal Shopper

        Humor via commentary is risky on the internet because some folks may not realize they read in an angry or sarcastic internal voice. That’s why haha, lol, and goofy emojis help clear any confusion. I actually added an emoji that didn’t upload at the end of my comment about depending on Millennials to save the world. It was only meant as well-meaning humor. (However, my mum used to say there’s always truth in humor)

        Not to take away from the validity of Millennial’s challenges, each previous generation offers a rich history and contribution…and went through a lot of angst in the process. It may not seem like it but this is one of the most peaceful times in history. However, the vast plethora of ubiquitous news media channels makes many of us perceive otherwise.

  38. Ivan Hawkes

    Lots of interesting theories here.

    For me, the theme of the film is about the disconnectedness of people today. You see this shown in the various relationships and the way Maureen communicates mainly via text and Skype.

    Ingo and Kyra are never even in the same room, and though they are said to have been together for 2 years, he has no real love for her. Maureen is disconnected from her boyfriend, having spents months away from him and only talking over Skype. He makes a point to tell her that he’s been trying to call her for a week when she finally answers. Lara is disconnected from her boyfriend through his death.

    The only functional relationship is between Lara and Maureen in the first half of the film.

    The director is riffing on the idea of the disconnectedness of people, and the connectedness of other realms. We are barely aware of the people around us; including those who may be from other dimensions – such as one who has died.

    What I think happened in broad strokes is that Maureen’s brother really was a medium, and so is Maureen, to a lesser degree. This is established by the way she makes contact with the entity in the house.

    Ingo is the one texting Maureen, perhaps to make a connection with her – one he doesn’t truly have with his own lover, or perhaps to frame her for the murder he will commit.

    Ingo murders Kyra, and it is her distressed spirit that Mauren encounters in her flat.

    Maureen enters the hotel, and is sitting on the bed when Ingo enters the room and kills her. It is her spirit that we see leaving the hotel when the doors mysteriously open.

    She is then on a spirit journey to make sense of what has happened and release her attachments from the world. She has little attachment to clothing and jewelry, though there is some there as she tries on Kyra’s clothes and jewels, her main attachment is to her dead brother – and that is what is anchoring her to the world after she is killed.

    The scene in the cafe is her dead, making contact with Lara, who is perhaps also a medium. Lara is advising her she needs to leave soon, and this is a common theme of all the following conversations. Lara is aware she is dead and is trying to shepherd her to the next place, but knows Maureen is frightened and confused and so Lara allows her to come to her house for a while, a sanctuary for spirits who aren’t ready to pass yet. She would be used to having such spirits around, since the brother communicated with them.

    The new man, which people are assuming is her new boyfriend is also dead. He’s been there since before the brother died which gives meaning to his comment about not making a connection with Lara before the brother passed away. Notice how Lara doesn’t outright say he is a boyfriend, only a friend of a friend who she made a connection to after the death of her boyfriend. I think he is a kind spirit who is there to help her accept her death and cross over. He doesn’t interact with Lara at all during the scenes, lessening the impact of his prescence.

    The man seen in the window slowly fades into view rather than walking into view. He is visible through the open glass, but not through the actual window itself. There’s a lot of imagery again glass in this film.

    I believe he is Maureen’s brother and that in his timeline he is still alive at this point (time is just another dimension), and that he catches sight of her outside, walks to the doorways, turns and see’s it is clearly her – at which point he drops the glass he is holding. He may also die of a heart attack at this moment, though it’s unclear for certain because the exact circumstances of his death are kept from the audience.

    The conversation between Lara and Maureen at that point is strangely vague, but it’s important to note that after a question is asked Maureen taps twice agressively on the table – an answer of ‘no’ from the spirit side.

    Maureen continues her journey by moving through anonymous transition places, like a very generic airport, a cab ride without talking through a desert, etc. Worth pointing out is the sign in the background as she enters Oman, something almost magical sounding (exact wording eludes me for now).

    The note she reads talks about how sparse the place she is going will be, but that is what she wanted. It says she needed bring anything or much, as nothing will be needed. It is fairly clear she is going there as a step closer to divesting herself of worldy attachments.

    When she enters the room, there is a glass hanging in mid-air. This is her boyfriend, who is still alive, and he drops the glass at seeing her.

    The conversation then re-inforces the idea that she is actually the ghost now.

    Well, it’s not all neatly tied in a bow, but it feels fairly right in terms of the texture and themes of the story.

    Reply
    • Ivan Hawkes

      Actually, on a quick re-watching of the scenes around her entering the hotel, I think she is already dead by then. If you look at the scene in the room where she is receiving the series of threatening texts you’ll see their timestamps are over a period of 30 minutes or more.

      I think she was killed 30 minutes earlier and her spirit is now interacting with her phone, which is never normally off – but suddenly it needs to play catch-up to a slew of messages. Over the course of the last 30 minutes he was coming to the flat, sending texts every few minutes, each more threatening than the last. When he arrived he entered the room and killed her for her phone, which could incriminate her.

      She rationalised the visit as him sliding a key under the door with a note – but there was never anyone outside the door. This is her initial attempt to rationalise what has just happened to her.

      She immediately leaves the room, goes to a store and exchanges her sim for a new one, in a way being born anew through this act – a new start. This is a symbolic transition to a new state for her.

      We do see her enter the hotel, but look at all the artwork on the walls, it’s all different, it’s that spiritual art now, instead of the drab paintings of flowers and landscapes from before. That shouldn’t be true if she is killed in this room, it should have happened after her death, so I think the real death is a few scenes earlier at Kyra’s.

      Damn, now I need to go and re-watch it to see if that theory gels.

      Reply
      • L

        Just when it seemed many things were figured out, Ivan, you mention a few details needing a re-watch of this movie. If the paintings changed in the hotel hallway…it may signify Maureen did get whacked at some point. Possible meanings are cleverly placed one may not, at first or second viewing, become aware.

        Still, one wonders why would a dead Maureen care about achieving a more concrete message from her dead twin if she’s already dead? Why would dead Maureen go to the doctor for a heart check, the police to report a murder, change out a SIM card to stop getting texts from Ingo, drive or take other forms of transportation when all she’d have to do is simply appear at these destinations?

        Throughout the movie various characters and internet videos tell the audience spirits all around us. As was brought up in earlier comments, too, is also the technical way of presenting spirits behind Maureen–only the viewers see them–which signifies spirits are indeed around us and her. The elevator and lobby doors opening are perhaps another way of merely showing spirits exist with the living.

        Yep, another re-watch to check if paintings changed.

      • Senta

        @Ivan I see you are another “Maureen is a ghost” conspiracy theorist. 😉 I find this fixation fascinating. They are fun to read.

        On your subject that the paintings in the rooms changed because she was “murdered,” is not true. There are actually three different hotel rooms used in the movie. The first room she enters (when she is wearing Kyra’s clothes) is room 724. The door knob is on the right side, opening from right to left. The room Maureen enters at the very end of the movie when she brings the diamonds has the door knob on the left side, opening from left to right and it seemingly has no number. So when Maureen goes to the hotel the last time, she was not going to meet Ingo. I believe she went to meet the police, because police arrest Ingo in the same time frame. Why do I believe this, simple logic that she would not bring the diamonds to a stranger texting her on the phone. But the clincher, and I keep forgetting to mention this to all the “Maureen is a ghost” theorist is that the room Ingo exits at the end of the movie is room 329. It was not the room Maureen was in, so that theory implodes. There are three different rooms! But…alas people are bound determined to make Maureen a ghost because they think that makes the movie better, except it does not, because it would make absolutely no sense for Assayas to kill her off. This is not that kind of ghost story. This is not Sixth Sense.

        If Assayas wanted to make that kind of movie, it would be way better than PERSONAL SHOPPER. For me, my personal opinion, PERSONAL SHOPPER is about ennui, about existing without existing. It is very existential, and very, very French. People are trying to make this an American movie because it has Kristin Stewart in it, but it is not an American movie. Its cinematic style and purpose is very French. I know; being French I grew up on these types of movies, where what you think is the story, is not the story; it is only the vehicle wherein to tell the story.

        L, like me, is open to other people’s opinions and we both found the diversity of interpretation and thought to be fascinating concerning PERSONAL SHOPPER, but she is asking you some very real questions, that if you are determined to pursue this “Maureen is a ghost” theory then you must answer them all logically, otherwise Assayas has made the most nonsensical and worst ghost story ever put to film, which would be very sad for me because I look up to him as one of my country’s premiere auteurs.

        Instead, I ask you to drop your theory for just one moment, and pretend she lives all the way to the end, where at last she confronts what may, or may not be, her brother. And then ask yourself what is the movie about; what are the symbols that Assayas uses to tell his story? What is the story? If you go in that direction, you will have an incredibly rich experience of deciphering what Assayas has made, with far more diversity of thought, especially from French existentialism to Assayas’ multiple mixes of genres to tell one story. Try to crack that nut. 🙂 I can tell you, we are still talking about in my house. It is that kind of movie.

        Or you can believe Maureen has been murdered by Ingo, sight unseen, un-telegraphed, unscripted. I respect your opinion and the fun you are having with making this theory work. It is as I have told L, Americans and the French have different sensibilities, especially in cinema. Americans immediately see ghost story, the French see the existential experience. It makes for a very interesting world; why I love coming here and reading what people feel about cinema.

  39. Ray

    Here’s My take : Maureen is traumatized by Lewis’s death – becomes possessed and kills Kyra. The trail of blood from the bed to the dressing room – (where M is masturbating to where she was trying on the clothes earlier) is a clue to the possible scene and nature of the crime.

    She is in a fugue state and later confronts the spirit that possessed her – in the hallway after she discovers the body.

    The texts were from her inner self – an internal monologue of her desires and fears.

    She books the room herself – and plays out her Kyra fantasy in the hotel by seducing Ingo (the forbidden love)

    M finally implicates Ingo in the murder by probably planting / connecting the Cartier jewelry on him and (the other way around) – We never really know if Ingo really confessed or if he is even caught – Its Maureen telling us that he did – and is likely untrue.

    Her brother dropping the glass is a violent act and is likely angry with her that she killed Kyra.

    She escapes to Oman to evade arrest and is finally told by Lewis that she is the one possessed and that the harm is really coming from her.

    Reply
  40. Sarannyu Tripathi

    When Ingo met Maureen for first time he gets to know a lot about her through their conversation and starts to like her and wants to fulfill all her desires and therfore makes it happen through texting her encouraging her to wear kyra’s clothes…After he murdered kyra… He later on kept those jewelry bags in her home… In the hotel the conversation between them is not shown but he doesn’t takes away the jewelry bags.. That means he gave them to Maureen.. He must’ve provided her a way to escape to Oman.

    Reply
  41. Tom J

    People – surely it’s obvious. Maureen is the killer. Let’s start with the ghosts. No one else sees them (of course) and only Maureen is there when they do any physical damage (the cross scratches). So she could be doing that & the ghosts are just hallucinations from her damaged mind. She has the motive (obsession with being Kyra), she admits staying at Kyra’s flat just before the murder and her only real alibi is being at a hotel room booked under her own name. Which brings us onto the stalker – it’s actually her split personality (like Tyler Durden in Fight club). Always knows where she’s going, never seen, has her keys, even uses the same text messaging style as Maureen (notice as she always puts a space between the sentence and the question mark. so does the stalker). All the notes & messages could have been written by her, for herself. “I’m outside your door” – no one is there, we hear no one, but somehow a note appears telling her to go to room 329. So Maureen gets obsessed with Kyra, kills her, takes the jewellery (how else did it get into her flat?), then sets up Ingo. Her trip to a remote part of Oman is her fleeing whilst she can (the travel ban is lifted). And she confesses at the end – “is it just me?” As for the never-actually-met boyfriend in Oman (what kind of schmuck doesn’t meet their girlfriend at the airport?) – that’s Lewis. Check the similarity between the guy who skypes & the ghost who appears at the end (dropping the glass). A figment of her imagination who communicates via Skype, just as her own split personality communicates with her via text message.

    Reply
    • L

      I loved the movie Fight Club after understanding all the symbology, twists. Admittedly, I didn’t get Fight Club at first–although am proud of myself Sixth Sense was figured out more quickly haha!

      Because you’ve inferred the dualism idea of Fight Club, the “split personality” into this movie, I’m in awe!

      Tom J, you have a really cool perspective that I buy into. It causes a split in my perspective about this movie!

      Reply
    • Senta

      I am going to try something very daring. 🙂 I am going to challenge you to think outside the confines of a psycho-killer movie; and I must say, your POV is quite extravagant. You should be a novelist! I have never seen so many people go so far off the beaten path as I have in Taylor’s critique of PERSONAL SHOPPER, and I feel a responsibility to Assayas to steer you back onto the path. How arrogant, yes? 😀 Have you read any articles or interviews where Assayas discusses how he filmed PERSONAL SHOPPER? Nowhere does he even hint at the fact that Maureen is a psychotic killer, or as so many have stated here, that she is a ghost murdered by Ingo, etc. That would be a totally different movie from the mini-masterpiece that he has created about grief, disconnect, loneliness and being young and trying to rediscover yourself when someone you love very much dies. He has stated that this is a “coming-of-age” story in the new age of telecommunications, a girl rediscovering herself, in essence trying to come back to life after a devastating loss. Does that sound like a psychotic killer to you? 🙂 What would be the point of so much convolution, obfuscation, and utter desolation of her being a murderer and being accused by her dead brother? …Wow, that would make this movie a modern treatise on CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. I am being facetious. 🙂

      PERSONAL SHOPPER is a journey of rebirth through the colors and prisms of different genres. Indeed, Assayas is an entertainer so he is going to push your buttons and challenge you to think, but that is his job. The ending is one of awareness and coming to terms; a girl coming to the realization that after all she has been through, she cannot keep grieving over her brother’s death. He is gone, and now she must complete herself by living without him. The ending, however ambiguous, is one of optimism.

      I ask you to look up what Assayas says about his movie. Just google it and start reading, and you will find nothing of something so convoluted as a psychotic-heroine, or Maureen being a ghost. He has stated the ghosts are real; indeed twice they appear behind Maureen, signifying they are not a figment of a demented imagination. The ghosts are cinematic symbols. What do you think they mean? After reading these interviews, if you still feel you are right, that Maureen is a murderer with an ending that is completely nihilistic, then more power to you. Carry on, sir. 🙂

      Reply
      • Tom J

        I admire your passion for Assayas and his descriptions of his work. But…if he wanted this to be viewed as a fiendishly-clever and beautifully observed coming of age story, then he shouldn’t have made its conclusion be defined by a visceral, blood-spattered murder scene. Especially as said murder scene has absolutely zero narrative need or relevance: the ‘coming of age’ film could have concluded beautifully without such clichéd visual tropes as blood stained handmarks on bathroom door frames, or ‘I know what you did last summer’ stalking. Honestly, it’s like serving a Michelin-starred meal then offering a Big Mac as the final course – and then complaining when people only remember the burger. Lesson – if you want the petit fours to be remembered, NEVER SERVE THE BURGER.

    • Senta

      *giggle* You are right. It is shocking. And Assayas did, absolutely, make a thriller and it does have a murder, and it is bloody. It harkens to Hitchcock and other directors of that genre that he admires. The critics caught on fast that Asssayas made a ground-breaking movie of multiple genres and he did it in his trademark auteur style. You have ghosts, a stalker, a shocking murder from leftfield, with a whole lot of ennui in between that could be boring if not for Kristin Stewart’s acting. She pulled it off because she plays detachment like no other actor I know. Within this ennui is your story, everything else is mere window-dressing. A millennial young woman, who has lost her twin, is suddenly adrift; disconnected from the world around her; held together only tenuously through her mobile. Electronics is her only connection with the outside world. The contradiction is Maureen wanders through a landscape of disconnect whilst trying to connect. I think Assayas said he at first wrote it as a boyfriend, but it did not have the depths he was searching for, until he changed it to a twin. Losing a twin is often referred to as losing half your soul. Maureen has lost half her soul and she is trying to get it back, but she is so hollow from her loss that she wanders on auto-pilot; thus you have a girl personal shopping for a celebrity, a job that should be exciting but she goes through it with all the gusto of a lobotomy. I can recount devastating moments in my life where I just wandered through my day doing things on auto-pilot. In many ways, Maureen is a ghost in her own world. Perhaps we all are, especially millennials (moi) who live and die by our mobiles. We do not really talk to anyone, we just think we are. Slight exaggeration, but talk about being a ghost in a machine. 🙂

      All this is happening at a time in her life when she should be alive. Assayas describes how she gets in touch with her femininity by putting on two dresses, a young woman “leaving androgyny behind.” His words. She tries to talk to her brother, but instead meets another spirit in the house. A text message comes from nowhere and she thinks it might be her brother. There is so much pathos to that as Assayas describes it. It is painful to watch. She wants her brother back so badly that she does not see the danger she is suddenly in. A shocking murder from far left-field jolts her back to reality. This leap into the thriller genre is told in such an odd way, a very French auteur way that people are stunned; just like Maureen is stunned. Someone is playing with her and now she must snap out of her stupor and fend for herself. She calls the cops, returns the diamonds and sets up Ingo. At this turning point, she chooses to give up on her quest to connect with her brother and goes back to her life to hook up with her boyfriend. It is time to reconnect, face to face, skin to skin, no more mobiles. And then she meets another spirit. Is it her brother, or is it just her wanting it to be. Does it make a difference? She must return to life and move on. Whether the spirit is her brother or not is irrelevant. Assayas leaves it open ended because that is who he is. You can interpret it either way you want and he implies you would be right; the lesson is still remains the same. Get back into life. Live.

      But if you prefer the psychotic woman who turns killer with a final condemnation from her brother, then you, sir, have a tremendous imagination, and if you are not a writer, you should look into it. I am serious, because if I had not seen the movie, I would think the movie you described would be FANTASTIC! That would be an awesome cinema. Write it and shoot it. Now. 🙂

      Reply
  42. L

    While checking out paintings at the arts district downtown, it was observed artists placed titles naming their paintings.

    One was called, “String Theory” and composed of of what looked like, to me, a bowl of spaghetti and meat balls. The artist’s description may not be everyone’s takeaway. And there’s something cool about that in itself; one person’s idea causing a Big Bang effect of different, perhaps totally disparate, from the initial concept.

    Consider Assaya’s movie like a painting he titles, Personal Shopper. People who pause to examine it each leave with a different idea of what it was about or meant to them.

    It’s all good:-)

    Reply
    • Jen Clay

      I thought that the ending and ghost visits were indictors that she was going to die like her brother. I understood that she had this fear when getting her heart checked. And this idea of ghosts visiting the twin before he died was mentioned.

      Reply
  43. Ash

    I know many people commenting here lean on the theory Mureen is “dead” by the end of the movie.. But I don’t think so.. I mean IF she died at the hands of Ingo at the hotel room, then how does one explain;
    1. Meeting her brother’s girlfriend at the restaurant?
    2. She spends time at the house of the brother’s girlfriend before leaving to meet her boyfriend, and speaks to the man her brother’s girlfriend is seeing now..
    3. She cautions one of the dogs to not come in as there is glass on the floor when the ghost of Lewis (our assumption) drops a glass on the floor.. Ok a ghost who cares of the wellbeing of a dog? Hard to argue she is a ghost here..
    4. She goes to the middle East, gets driven to her boy friend’s abode and shown to her room and all this is improbable WERE SHE A GHOST! Why would she need to drive to the location or be shown in by staff?

    My conclusion is that she is very much alive, but she could finally move on now with the clear contact she recieved from Lewis in the form of another glass breaking.. I think she realises she needs to move on with her life and if she continues egging on paranormal reactions she will be targeted by all forms of the paranormal world and realises what she should do is to accept that her twin brother is gone and to live her life as best as she can with the closure he gave..

    Reply
    • stefano

      In response to what people said about kirsten that couldn’t possibly be dead because she was very much alive whilst caring about the dog, in the scene where she speaks with the new boyfriend of lewis’s ex, she said that a spirit could still appear real for a period of time.

      Reply
    • Tania

      I think this movie shows Maureen’s perspective on events taking place in and around her life. Therefore we need to look for evidence within that perspective if we are to establish cause and effect which determine the true meaning of the movie.
      Evidence:
      Lewis and Maureen have a pre-diagnosed heart condition and instructed to avoid stress. This is known to Lara.
      Lara and her new bf knew each other prior to Lewis’s death.
      Lara benefits 100% from the sale of Lewis’s and her home.
      Lara says to Maureen She isn’t certain enough yet to make a decision on what to do with the money.
      Lara would have known the stress of Lewis’s work would kill him she just had to encourage and support him.
      Then Lara leaves Maureen alone to confront the same stress that killed Lewis. She specifically refuses Maureen’s invitation to stay at the haunted house.
      Ingo and Kyra are thrown in as a dramatic red herring – a distraction set to confuse us but from Maureen’s first conversation with Ingo he knows Kyra wants to leave him. We then find he confesses to her murder no doubt a fit of jealous rage that if he can’t have her no-one will. Nothing to do with Maureen other than an opportunity for Lara and bf to take Cartier bags and plant in Maureen’s house when they send more texts instructing her to take bags to motel room. They do this to add to her stress and hopefully cause a confrontation with Ingor causing him to kill her, but that didn’t happen.
      It is Lara and bf texting her. They are the people who know her every move and know her desperation to contact her brother will cloud her judgement. Clearly they are watching her every move as they plan to shock her into cardiac arrest and never be found culpable. Then they keep all Lewis’s money no challenge to his will or their fast relationship. The final clue it’s them is the bf also uses the word forbidden in the garden scene, which is the theme of the texts but Maureen misses the clue.
      It’s a coincidence that Ingo comes out of motel but he hasn’t interacted with Maureen. She is alive. The sight of the Cartier in his room when he arrives sets him into paranoia therefore he is quick to shoot and flee because he knows someone is onto him.
      Maureen says he confesses and case closed. but Lara asks her “but you’ll testify” she says yes. That puts Lara and bf at risk of being caught because of the texts. Remember the texter panics about if Maureen told the police about the texts.
      Then at the end she communicates with an apparent spirit, but look how she communicates, exactly like the movie Lara put her onto. She never asks the spirit to thump once for yes twice for no, it just coincidently happens and she doesn’t think anything of it. It’s a set up by Lara and bf who know her every move and will keep scaring her until she dies from natural causes.
      That will bring the certainty to Lara about her clear and free future with bf.
      That’s my take on it after examining the actual evidence available without focusing on Maureen’s perspective.
      I hope my view further tickles your curiosity whilst the lingering ponder continues over the calmly intertwined twisted tale of the personal shopper.

      Reply
  44. Laura

    Disclaimer: I am just stating my opinions and theories. I am not a film critic, so sorry ahead of time if what I typed is in any way confusing.

    Scene in cafe..shows Maureen holding the glass..then camera pans to Lara (Maureen’s sister-in-law) and the glass is on the table, no one is there holding it. It could be a continuity error..but I don’t think so considering the director, Olivier Assayas. It shows Lara is communicating with Maureen’s spirit.

    Scene in backyard between Maureen and Erwin (Lara’s new boyfriend) He tells her he worked with Lewis and then names the place where he currently works, showing us that he is not a spirit, but that he can see and communicate with her, leading us to believe he has abilities. In the same scene, when the man (Lewis) appears behind Maureen in the window, as he moves, you can clearly see it’s a spirit as he moves. He glides or floats. Also, if you watch, the glass drops suddenly, as if Lewis is about to finally approach her and then suddenly realizes she is a spirit as well.

    I think it’s safe to assume Lara has abilities as well because she was involved with Lewis (a medium), Maureen (a medium) and Erwin (a medium); therefore is able to see and interact with Maureen’s spirit in the cafe at the end of the film.

    When she arrives in Oman, everything is white and bright, from the houses to the car to Maureen’s clothing to the man’s clothing that escorts her to the living quarters. I think this is her version of what the movie describes as the place between earthly and heavenly life. Her impending journey to “the mountains” would be her spirit moving on to “heaven”. The letter prepares her for her journey. When she arrives, again..everybody is dressed in white. The last scene, the confrontation is Lewis helping her realize she is a spirit as well. He confirms it’s him with one knock. He confirms he’s at peace with one knock. When she asks if he means harm he confirms no with two knocks. When she asks “who are you”, there is no answer which leads her to ask him if it’s her. He confirms with one knock. She realizes she’s a spirit and where she is and then she literally sees “the white light”, she is engulfed in it. You can see it if you watch it back. She’s now in “heaven.”

    I don’t know about the sequence of the scenes, I think people may be thinking about it too hard. It’s just my opinion. But I definitely think she dies in that hotel room by Ingo, and then leaves the hotel as a spirit. And everything from that point on is in order. I don’t think whether they catch him and he confesses or not is ever really known. I think her mind decides this as a way for her to cope with the trauma after she was killed. After all, they show him being grabbed by police after he leaves the hotel, but escaping after he breaks free and shoots one of the cops; which is why he is not followed. The other cop stays with the wounded officer and does not pursue Ingo.

    As for the people who didn’t enjoy the film..it’s just a matter of taste. Some people enjoy films that allow you to break them down and analyze them, by leaving them open to interpretation. Others don’t want to think so much when they watch a film. They just want to be entertained. I happen to enjoy both, depending on my mood. I can appreciate the straightforwardness and possible predictability of a film like Titanic; enjoying it just as much as a film with an ambiguous ending like Birdman. I just want to put it out there that I happen to be someone that really enjoyed this film. I think it’s superior to Clouds Of Sils Maria (which was excellent). I also happen to think that this is by far Kristin Stewart’s best performance ever. The one little thing that threw me at first was her hair. When we get our first look at Maureen, with her hair, to me she looks exactly like her tomboy character in Panic Room. Just thought that was funny. One last thing, I just wanted to say thank you to Taylor Holmes for this page and providing an outlet to discuss this awesome film. I think I would die if I didn’t have a place to express my thoughts on it. Even if they’re torn apart by someone else, or proven wrong, or never even read.

    Reply
    • J Doe

      Would not have believed the theory that Maureen was dead until I read your excellent analysis!

      Reply
    • Tyballz

      . Wow. What an excellent take on the ending. I’m to rewatch it now and Ive just finished it. Thanks. 🙂

      Reply
    • Maeve

      If Lara had “abilities” why would she physically drive Maureen to the home in which she had lived with Maureen’s twin brother for Maureen to “sense” things and give approval for a couple to buy and move in to the house? If Lara had psychic abilities SHE would’ve been there and all other scenes would’ve been about her experiences! It is clear Maureen is psychic and picks up a few ghosts or two along her path in trying to communicate with her deceased twin brother. And why would a scene with a doctor occur which gave viewers further info and a thumbs up about her excellent heart health be in the movie if she had died?

      Too much overthinking if people assume Maureen died. Maureen asks, “Is it me?” because it’s a simple question relating to poltergeist activity often asked by so-called psychics and paranormal investigators these days, especially on numerous television shows concerning paranormal activity.

      Someone in another thread already mentions the poltergeist analogy and it is logical due to the hesitant, lost-without-her-pyschic-twin Maureen character finally coming into her own, psychic abilities and finding herself, her place in the end scene.

      Assayas presents a ghost movie which in today’s times conveys with phone texting and borrowing what is popularly viewed on television shows about supposedly “real” paranormal activity phenomena for what is understood as well in these days.

      It is simply a good movie reflecting these times–nothing too deep but yet open ended enough to allow fertile imaginations to go further than what the movie probably intended.

      Here’s a blog about the kinds of spirits which supposedly exist in the world. Especially read up on poltergeists which are often used as a common movie trope.

      Reply
    • Kristi

      I am glad to hear someone recognize the oddity of the interaction between Maureen and Erwin in the garden, the whole interlude is just weird. What did he mean when he used the word “forbid” during their conversation? The word “Forbidden” was a recurring theme in the text string and felt like a cue to moviegoers when spoken in the garden.

      Reply
    • K

      Totally agree with everything. In the version I saw there is no scene where Maureen leaves the hotel room. She enters, puts the Cartier bags on the bed then looks scared towards door. Then there’s the scene with the elevator door opening like for a ghost both upstairs then ground floor. Then the hotel doors open like for a ghost. Then Ingo comes out of the hotel room.
      That’s where I realized Maureen is dead. Because she had the same heart condition as Lewis. And the doctor told her to avoid emotional stress. She was scared plus the whole movie she is a bunch of nerves, smoking, drinking heaps of coffee…so when Ingo comes in the hotel room her heart just gives out. Just like with Lewis. That’s why she leaves the hotel but as a ghost. She has not realised yet she’s dead, it happenned too fast. Plus as Laras newboyfriend exlains, spirits walk the earth for a time after death (I actually had a conversation about this a few weeks before seeing the movie and wondering why so many different religions believe that, is it because they do have a common root or why? Most claim that the soul goes to “heaven” 40 days after death…so for 40 days it lingers on).
      So thats my opinion. Great movie!

      Reply
  45. Rebecca

    I L.O.V.E.D. this movie. The psychological aspects, the mystery, the crime, the ghosts, all of it, were so well blended that they had her constantly in motion while using a cell phone and STILL managed to give me goosebumps. Anyway, I think the ending is much simpler than any of the explanations I’ve read. Throughout the movie, it is highlighted how uncomfortable Maureen is with herself, her lack of sense of self, her lack of identity, the way she doesn’t trust herself or her medium ability. What I took away from this was that her twin brother was HOW she self-identified. He was the fixed point around which she moved, so once he was gone, she became totally lost. I think the ghostly encounters in the movie were real. I think the one at the house was important, but I don’t know who it might have been, I think the one at the hotel may have been Kyra, and the one in kitchen, Lewis, as well as the one in Oman, BUT I think she will never see these efforts to make contact with her for what they really are because she is so full of self-doubt. She gets in her own way. The one thing she truly wants is for Lewis to reach out to her, but she’s doubts herself and her abilities so much that she is unable to let that happen. So to me, the movie is about losing one’s identity through another person and the blind struggle, once they’re gone, of trying to muddle through life not really knowing who your are and, therefore, never truly being able to live.

    Reply
  46. Jordan

    Having read a few of these and re-watched the pivotal scenes towards the end, I’m on board with the theory that Ingo kills her in the hotel room. We don’t see Ingo in the hotel room with her but she hears the door open while she’s inside and the scene fades out. Then we don’t see her leave physically.

    I like the idea that Lara was just communicating with her spirit in the cafe (like user Laura pointed out). Then when Maureen is talking with Erwin in the garden he behaves so formally and weirdly — like he could totally be communicating with a spirit. And Maureen mentions her mother saying goodbye to Lewis in a near-physical manifestation. Maybe this is what Maureen is doing for Lara (and her partner) in her new life.

    I’d like to throw out there that maybe Gary is also dead, and just someone from her past that she communicates with? We never see him in person. The note he leaves her in Muscat is pretty cryptic to say the least. Could be he’s waiting for her there to make her complete transition once she settles things with Lewis. Not for nothing that her driver’s name, Salim, means “safe” in Arabic.

    Reply
  47. Redkarnelian

    I think only people who are knowledgeable about mediumship will get this movie. Maureen doesn’t die in this film. The end scene is where she realizes she’s a poltergeist, that she’s causing at least some of these manifestations (the ghost woman in the dark house scene is classic manifestation). Contrary to what is commonly known, poltergeists are not spirits but are projected violent phenomenon caused by a person. Usually this person is young, has psychic abilities, and is traumatized. She can’t see her brothers attempts to communicate through her own psychic noise. The poltergeist manifestations may have caused the noises in the hotel room that many assume was Ingo entering the room. She may never have been in the room at the same time as Ingo. If he tried to kill her (with poltergeist capabilities), there’s no way it would have been quiet..he’d likely end up screaming trying to escape the room. It means there’s a art of her subconsciously/semi-consciously acting out but also protecting her. She’s fractured, literally in soul. For a person that buys pieces of items making up another person, it’s ironic that she is helself incomplete. Being a personal shopper, putting someone else together might be a subconscious compulsion that now that she is aware at the end of the movie, she can address.

    Reply
  48. J

    I thought the explanation was far simpler: a medium deals with the trauma and desperation caused by the death of her brother, and unconsciously manifests hauntings.

    The ghost who vomits ectoplasm is profoundly different from the ghosts we see after Maureen watches the movie about Victor Hugo. There are no more horrifying apparitions that take the form of people. The hauntings are influenced by her ideas, and change as she researches the topic over the course of the film.

    When we see Lewis in the kitchen, we’re seeing what Maureen senses, despite the fact that she’s not looking. This occurs right after a conversation about Lewis still being present in the house. Everything supernatural that we perceive in the film is what Maureen perceives and manifests.

    The texts and murder are a subplot that is only relevant insofar as they are facets of Maureen’s life that show us her desperation. They teach us about Maureen, but they’re not crucial to Maureen’s self-discovery. Their most important function is to illustrate that Maureen sincerely wonders if they might be supernatural, which seems to be her primary motivation for humouring whoever’s texting her to the degree that she does; and obviously they’re eventually revealed to be Ingo.

    In the final scene she realises that everything she believed was evidence for the existence of spirits, everything that gave her hope of receiving a communication from Lewis, was in fact nothing more than her own wishful thinking.

    Reply
    • DeeDee

      I like this explanation. I think simple is best. She discovers at the end that she will never get a clear and reliable answer about the afterlife. She has to live with that ambiguity.

      I do not see any evidence at all for her being killed. Being left in this world and in doubt is far more haunting.

      Reply
  49. Nelson

    Why are so many people mistaken when it comes to the dialogue in the final scene? When she asks if Lewis is at peace, the entity answers YES with a knock. In the original article and in many comments (except Laura’s), people keep saying that there is no response after the “are you at peace” question, when in fact there is. She then asks “are you NOT at peace”? And Lewis again answers YES with a knock. The reason for the conflict, in my opinion, is because she is dead now, and while Lewis is at peace with his own death… he is not at peace with hers. This is also why when she asks, “do you mean harm?” the entity answers YES. The harm is not intended towards her, but to the person (Ingo) who killed her. We see the elevator and hotel doors open and close (with no one visible) BEFORE we see Ingo exit the hotel room looking satisfied. Ingo asks Maureen earlier if she told the police about his texts so, he sees her as a threat and kills her. It was her spirit leaving the hotel.

    When she meets with Erwin, his demeanor is not that of someone who is speaking to a living person. He seems afraid yet, calming towards Maureen. He tells her (very definitively) that Lewis is there and that she should “hold on to the memory of his freedom, PUT IT INTO PRACTICE.” Then, when he says he has to leave, he asks her if “she’ll be staying for a few days”. This seems like a direct reference to earlier in the conversation when he says that Lewis was convinced that “the soul wanders around for a while before leaving this world”. He swallows and looks around nervously before getting up to grab a cigarette. This is because he knows her soul is currently wandering around, but he doesn’t want her to know it yet.

    Now, the last scene. “Lewis… are you here?” KNOCK
    “Have you been waiting for me?” KNOCK
    “Are you at peace?” KNOCK
    “Thank you”
    “Are you NOT at peace?” KNOCK
    “Are you playing with me?” No response
    “Do you mean harm?” KNOCK, KNOCK
    “I don’t know you… who are you? Who are you?”
    “Lewis is it you, Lewis is it you? Or is it just me?” KNOCK
    :White fade:

    I believe he doesn’t respond to her asking if it’s him the second time because he already did. When she asks “is it just me?”, he responds to say that she is now a spirit. It is Maureen’s boyfriend who drops the glass, but we can’t see him because he is alive and responding to the spirit of his dead girlfriend which has just appeared in his place. It was just her.

    So, I totally agree with Laura that Maureen is dead at the end of the movie. I also agree that this was a great thread because it allowed me to see some other opinions, and spew some of my thoughts on this movie which definitely needed to happen (even if they’re completely wrong). I thought this was a great movie and while it won’t be for everyone, you should give it a shot and determine that for yourself. Kristen Stewart was awesome and it was great to see her in something like this.

    Reply
  50. Cristina A

    My theory.
    She’s definitely NOT dead.
    The weirdest part happens in the hotel room. We see Maureen going to the hotel, but before this, she stops to change her sim card and throws away the old one (She wanted to stop communication with the unknown number).
    Than she enters very fast in a hotel room whose number WE DON”T SEE. Then she hears the noise of a door opening but it’s a bit farther, so it’s not her room (she entered a different room from where she could see who enters room 329. She sees Ingo).
    The screen goes black, nothing is shown anymore. Then We see a ghost leaving the hotel (Lewis might have been watching over her and now it’s time for him to go).
    Then we see Ingo leaving room 329 (the meeting point). He looks a bit unsettled, checks his phone on the way out, no message back from Maureen as she changed her sim card. He gets grabbed by the police, shoots one of them (showing he went to the hotel prepared to kill).
    Next scene, Maureen meets Lara, dressed all in black as to keep low profile, waiting for her with her car ready (they must have been partners in solving the case. Maybe Lara called the police, after Maureen texted her about Ingo).
    Then We see Maureen having the weird talk with Lara’s boyfriend who tells her that Lewis used to think that souls stay some time longer after their death in order to say goodbye to the loved ones (thus explaining the ghost leaving the hotel).
    The ghosts who appear after this are neither of them Lewis. She just reached a place of connection with the world beyond and gets “bothered”.
    In the end, she realizes she’s become a medium too and feels illuminated (therefore the bright white screen at the end)

    Reply
  51. René

    I don’t think she is dead. Seems more like after the person drops the note at her home she has called the cops. They tell her to come to the hotel and bring the bags back. She does not go to the room from the note, the person coming in is not Ingo. They wait for Ingo to come so they can arrest him…

    Reply
  52. Romina

    I agree with your point of view. I would also add that, since they’re a twins, it seems to me that Lewis had a gift for communicating with the luminous side and Maureen with the dark. Lewis may be trying to send her a message, especially through the friend that talks to her, which she discards very easily, and maybe even as the ghost with the glass, which she does not bother to acknowledge. She seems to be more open to dark spirits than to the other kind. She’s definitely haunted by the obscure thing she met at the house.

    Reply
  53. Meg

    She did not leave the hotel room. However, I cannot explain what exactly is happening at the end when she talks to Lewis’s ex and her new boyfriend. I do not know how to explain how she is talking to them. However I did think she died in the hotel because it goes to black and then shows the elevator and doors opening for nobody and just shows Ingo leaving the room/hotel after that.

    Reply
  54. Pat Speer

    I just watched the film. After think about it for a few minutes I took to the internet to see what people thought of the ending. It is indeed confusing.

    But I think I know what happened. I’d bet most anything the film-maker decided to change the ending after filming had been completed. That is why some of the cuts are so strange, and why certain scenes are so unclear.

    But here’s what seems clear. Maureen is begging for her brother to give her a sign. He shows up at the hotel to protect her, and ends up giving her a sign at his lover’s house by dropping a glass. He then follows her to Oman, where he drops another glass. She then begins asking all sorts of questions, culminating in her asking if it’s just her. To which she receives what seems to be a yes.

    Well, think about it. This is her brother’s ghost, not just any ghost. He sees how tortured she is. He sees how her desire for forbidden knowledge almost got her killed. And now here she is in Oman, on the verge of starting a new life with a good guy. So he LIES to her and says it’s just her. He, in effect, sets her free.

    It’s quite a lovely ending, when you think of it.

    Reply
    • Taylor Holmes

      I went to that page you posted, and was just instantly turned off by the site itself. Just seems like the worst click-bait website imaginable. Was his comment in one of the videos that were included (honestly couldn’t tell which videos were ads and which videos were content. Personally that drives me crazy.) But I am definitely wanting to hear Assayas mind on this… especially if he has commented definitively one way or the other.

      Reply
  55. George E.

    What if every comment made on this website is correct ? What if what you see and believe is correct ? What if what you believe is what you want to believe ? In your mind you are correct, there is no wrong. This movie makes a person think and decide what happened, It is a real sleeper.

    Reply
  56. BroKi

    After too much overthinking it and reading many theories in this Commentlist, i get to the conclusion, that every theory is right… i think the idea of such confusing movie endings is, rather that the viewer figures out his own truth, than being bound to rational and logicigal versions of happenings !!

    I mean, come on, it’s a movie about ghosts !!! Maybe some believes in that, and many ghost movies have the same idea of afterlife and there are many stories that seemingly sounds similar, but… is there anywhere a real proof or fact by study ? If it would exist, this would be in fact a mindblowing discover and everyone would know about it and the question about the movie ending wouldn‘t be necessary 😉

    My personal theory is:
    I think the real world journey for Mareen ends at the hotel room, where she died by being murdered by Ingo ! The proof for that is the white blending cut of her when he enters, as well as his seemingly disturbed and panic leaving from the elevator out of the hotel… it‘s obvious acting like he did something cruel or is hiding something!!

    With leaving the Hotel as a ghosts is the beginning of her afterlife and i think everything after that point is part of her imagination for her needing to move on until finally realizing that she‘s actually dead by questioning herself and vanish to the next world or beyond, depends on what‘s coming next, this is showed by the second white blending cut !?

    I explain this by my own idea of theoretical afterlife… I think, dead is happing so fast, that you don‘t realize what is happaning and you still think your alive and act like that and your imagination still let you think you‘re alive, so you think you interact and talk in the real world, until you realize it. Until you realize it, i thing you are on some kind of journey thru hotspots of your lifetime where you leave open tasks or questions and you stuck to that until you pass it or answer it also by yourself. I think the ghosts sightings (breaking glasses, opening doors, handling the elevator, knocking and so on) is some kind of focusing energy by extraordinary thinking it‘s real and bringing it to the real world like in the movie „Ghost“ with Patrick Swayze.

    But this is just my theory out of combining knowledge from different movies and hearings/readings and so on… so this is the right answer for me on this movie 😉

    As long as there is no proof of afterlife there is no logical ending to me… my only logic answer to sightings is some kind of newton‘s energy law ^^

    For the movie itself I think the only one who could really answer the question is the writer himself, what his idea for the ending was 🙂

    Reply
  57. EleeaEliot

    One question: why was she masturbating; especially when she knew there were spirits watching her?! Maureen didn’t strike me as someone who lacked focus. Therefore I think she was dealing with the grieving process and poor mental health.

    As for the spirits – well, she knew the truth but her state of mind wouldn’t let her come to terms with it. Like the Bible says, when you die the dead know nothing. You simply rest in peace.
    And as for the spirits messing with her – demons of course – evil spirit creatures who know plenty of stuff about the dead because they have not only been around for centuries but they have been watching us and already know enough to mess with us. | At the end of the movie – I am lost at what that was – perhaps the director ran out of film.

    Reply
  58. Claudio

    My theory, after reading most of this thread, is that Maureen dies in the exact moment the glass breaks in the house in Oman. She’s alive until that point. It couldn’t be explained otherwise the driver, the man opening the door to the house, the taxi at the airport. She has to be alive. But when she goes up there, she goes to die. Is it me? Yes. You are. Dead.
    That’s my take. And the spirit leaving the hotel is probably Kyra’s, that’s the only explanation that makes sense to me.

    Reply
  59. Jay

    I think is ambiguous on purpose with no answer that really makes sense.

    The film seems to indicate shes killed in the hotel room… I dont buy that the meeting with her sister in law after the hotel and the following scenes being afterlife.

    Reply
    • SANDRA F PATTERSON

      ok, people are mentioning that there is no room number 329, on the door in which he is leaving…. i swear, this movie hass driven me mad…

      Reply
  60. Isabel

    This is such a symbolic movie, it is definitely a thinker and I do think its a clever film.
    It gives us the opportunity to choose our own symbolic meaning and use our own creative thought.
    It enables us as the audience to have our own interpretation.
    It is whatever we want it to be.

    Anyone else agree?

    Reply
  61. RBenda

    Too much to weed through here. Forgive me if this has been mentioned… I’m hung up on the room #329 thing. She comes off the elevator, looks directly at room #329 (rooms 330 & 329 are right across from the elevator lobby) she then proceeds left and opens a door on the left with no room number on it. She hears the noise in the room and the scene fades to black. An invisible presence leaves the hotel. Then the movie show Inga leave room #329. She was never in room #329! Again – sorry if this was mentioned, but I’m late to this party and haven’t enough time read all posts.

    Reply
    • Jay

      Its a error. Its definitely the same room.

      Look a the location.. off the elevator, makes a left, past the mirror and 2 hanging pictures on the wall, its the next room.

      Nice catch with the room not having a number though.

      Reply
  62. Charlotte

    I just finished watching Personal Shopper, and it also left me with questions looming. Was reading the previous comments, and there are some rather good theories.

    Here’s some of my thoughts;

    With the theories that Maureen died in the hotel room. I do not believe that is true due to her interacting with Lara (Lewis’ girlfriend/wife) after the hotel scene, and also interacting with the men that guide and open the door for Maureen to where Gary was staying in the mountains.

    With those who think Maureen was setting Ingo up for the police. That could be a possibility. When you go to the scene in the movie where Maureen goes to the hotel room (Hotel Crowne Plaza), it definitely looks like she is up to something and knows what she is doing, compared to when she went to the first hotel room (Hotel Concorde) where she looked a bit more hesitant and uncomfortable. She also has the jewellery from Cartier, why would she have taken jewellery to the hotel in the first place if it wasn’t some sort of set up? It may also explain the undercover cops waiting for Ingo at the hotel entrance (they’re definitely undercover cops as one of them has handcuffs).

    The spirit that appeared in the kitchen and in Oman are the same spirit due to giving the same sign to Maureen by dropping the glass. Who that spirit is is the debatable part. Is it Gary, is it Lewis, or is it a spirit messing with her like some have theorised? I have an inkling that it’s the latter. The first few answers the spirit was giving Maureen were answers she probably wanted to hear; yes to Lewis being there, yes to having been waiting for her and then yes to being at peace. It was when Maureen says “I don’t know you” and asked “Who are you?” that made me go back to questioning who the spirit was. When Maureen asked “Lewis is that you?”, it seemed like a confirmation question to make absolutely sure it wasn’t Lewis. The next question “Or is it just me?” struck me to be one of those questions you hear often, e.g. “Did you see that, or was/is it just me?”, “Did you hear that, or was/is it just me?”. When the spirit responded to “Or is it just me?”, to me it confirmed that it wasn’t Lewis, it was just her thinking/hoping that it was.
    With comments stating that Gary had died and is the actual spirit at the end, I’m a bit iffy with that one. If Gary had died in the mountains, wouldn’t the people living in the village/town known that and had somehow tried to notify Maureen about it, rather than taking her straight to the place Gary was staying as if everything was alright? Maureen also says “Hey G?” when she heard the noise in the other room, which could suggest that Gary is still alive.

    Now the whole texting theory. My thoughts do lead towards Ingo being the one who was texting Maureen, and there are three obvious reasons as to why. The first one; the text message Maureen received after leaving the police station “DID YOU TELL THE COPS ABOUT MY TEXTS?”. The second; slipping the “Hotel Crowne Plaza Room # 329” note underneath Maureen’s apartment door after she received the text saying that they’re on the landing. And the third; Ingo leaving room # 329.

    The spirit that is leaving the hotel is the one that has really gotten me confused. And the only thing I can think of is that there’s a spirit that was either always with Maureen and left the hotel either before or after Maureen did (even though you don’t see Maureen leave the hotel at all). That spirit later appears in Lara’s kitchen and Oman. This probably sounds like a very ridiculous theory haha.

    Well all these are just my thoughts. I think I do have more theories and opinions on the movie, but I do not want to ramble on haha. I do like the movie a lot, it definitely got me thinking, which I like 🙂

    And I know that I’m a bit late adding to this thread, but reading the comments got me fascinated 🙂

    Reply
  63. Lily

    You realise it’s a bit rich of you to complain that “all Americans” want a “neat ending” to all film/you yourself are just so morally superior and above all that and why can’t all the lowly, uncultured Americans just let you live with your passion for ambiguity and nuance–yet you’ve created an entire post trying to figure out the “real” meaning of the ending. Hypocritical much? Jeez.

    Reply
  64. Denise Riley

    Senta, loved your thoughts on Personal Shopper. This whole comment chain has been great (except for a couple of trolls) and this baby-boomer is encouraged by the thoughtful insights of a millenial. I’m from the “Show Me” state here in the U.S. but don’t need all the tidy endings for films. Thanks for your “book” of comments.

    Reply
  65. Jez

    The room she enters does have #329 on it…the camera angle simply obfuscates it.

    She was killed in the hotel room.

    Watch the water glass in her scene with Lara. She dead. The entire scene with Erwin is fairly straight-forward. She dead.

    Someone way further up wrote beautifully about the significance of the letter in letting go and being at peace.

    Reply
  66. Dan

    Not 100% Sure about how this movie ends however, the first hotel key she got was for room 724, she was told to keep the key. The second key was for room 329. There is NO room number on the door Maureen enters however the elevator indicates she got off on level 3. When in the hall we are shown room 550, And the killer dude does leave from clearly marked 329. Anyway Kristen Stewart is hot!

    Reply
  67. Jenelle

    Just watched this movie i loved ,I have to tell you anyone can do this sorta thing but i do see the spirits evrywhere in the movie they are in almost every shadow youll see their faces bodies they watch her all the time , the one in the reir view mirror most prominent on her ride. To see her nf in the end youll start to see them ,although i only watched it once and saw them all as i do even in my own life you were right pretty much about it all just different parts,as a sorta medium if you call it,because anyone whose in pain can do this as well you anyone that hurts can reach the other side but it’s like,ok, imagine yourself in a dark room .your pain is like a flashlight others are like a candle,so when you speak to them remember your stronger and you can ignore it at anytime unless you’ve gone ahead and done drugs your ok lol but you’ll notice them your loved one reaches out evrytime just not in the way your thought it be,on a side note Kristen I believe could’ve done better in some of the sexual seems it makes me think she’s been assaulted or raped, something along that nature I believe that’s why she always looks uncomfortable whenever in those types of scenes,coming from experience i also have this look,but I dearly hope I’m wrong about it cause I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy your short movie I had figured it out she as dead after s asked him what he remembered why else would he talk to her,it’s great tho too but the movie much better,lol bit more to try and figure out,also I forgot to tell you your loved one is trying to reach you, listening is hard it’s like being in a dark room trying to see a candle with a flashlight, it’s hard not to feel pain when you have a loss, try to think of happy things when you think of them do it during the day,it’s safer you don’t want to pick up a menevoulent embodiment, cause they’re like mites you can’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t causing you damage, ignoring and not fearing them also a good lords prayer kick em off you and faith helps a lot to stop it. But I loved reading your blog and I hate blogs and normally never respond to things like these, but like I said spirits work thru you sometimes, good luck with everything hope all is well, n lots of love I’ll send your way hopefully you’ll feel it as you read to remind you of who it is, not me personally but you understand me by now.lol thx jenelle.

    Reply
  68. Roman Moroni

    She was the one holding the frosty beverage at the end of the movie, and then her brother jumped in and said I’m all good homeskillet . Then he pissed clean off.. and she went to chitchatin with her damn self not realizing her heart said “I don’t like this kitchen I’m attacking”. And attack it did…

    I have no idea if someone else said this already I stopped reading after the 20 or so posts.

    Reply
  69. Steve

    This movie was bad. B. A. D. Bad. Not deep, not a thinker, just bad. Kristen Stewart is just NOT an actress. Right place, right time, pretty and very lucky. This review/explanation? Yikes! I think the director may have used a psydonym and wrote it.

    Reply
  70. Kim

    Ok so I just watched this movie finally.
    She isn’t dead unless almost everyone in the movie can see and speak to ghosts. It is possible that she doesn’t have a lot of clothes and wears them again ‍♀️ After the glass drops she is sweeping the glass up and the brothers gf says to her I thought you were outside.
    Doesn’t make sense to ask a spirit this. Now i have to watch the movie again because I didn’t see any of what you guys seen I guess. And it was Kira in the elevator

    Reply
  71. John G.

    I’m not sure if I want to regard this film as a suspense thriller and puzzle. And I don’t think it is that. What stands out for me is this. Ingo is a deranged killer. But Maureen might be the crazy one. And who exactly then is the crazy one? What Ingo did seems to be acceptable. Because we movie goers have seen it so many times before. It’s almost normal. Not doing it, but watching it, I mean. Well, war is normal too. Killing people. For whatever reason.

    But there’s always a reason, so we’ve learned. A “good” reason. In this case the fact that Ingo’s lover is going to dump him. It pisses him off and he won’t allow it. So he slaughters Kyra and tries to imply Maureen. What a sick man, this character. Meanwhile Maureen might have a connection with her dead twin brother, might be a medium who can relate to ‘the other side”, and might become completely paranoid (also certainly thanks to sicko Ingo). Her perspective is illusive, not concrete.
    We never get a true single-minded clue concerning Maureen.

    So what do we have here? You could say: conventional vs non-conventional. In the end Ingo is just another messed-up guy who kills the woman he desires (and not loves). It’s cold, it’s factual and a total movie cliché in this day and age. What Maureen is experiencing doesn’t belong to that “language”. And it also doesn’t connect with another conventional genre that is implied – horror flicks.

    It’s about something else. The contrast makes it seen. And the questions raised point in the right direction. But not the questions put forward by a calculating detective. I don’t think it’s anything like that. It makes you wonder and it’s meant to do just that. I think.

    Reply
  72. Claudia

    I’m so intrigued! Just finished watching and after reading this I went back to the movie. Things I noticed:

    1. Some here said that the paintings are proof that Maureen is dead, but as Ingo leaves the paintings are there as well. I checked, it’s exactly the same paintings (yellow with two green marks).

    2. I don’t think the chronology is altered since when she meets her brother’s girlfriend she says they’ve arrested Ingo. So that happened after the hotel thing. Besides, they hugged…she can’t be dead, right? She’s wearing the same clothes she was wearing at the hotel. Same jacket and same shirt.

    3. Overall, conversations after “her death” are just too real. She’s holding cups, interacting with people. Lara clearly addresses her when she’s picking up the shattered glass.

    I have no personal theories but I liked this one:

    “All of the antagonism that she’s faced throughout the film, then, including Ingo’s stalking, is commingled into a sort of post-Lewis trauma, one that exploits and inhabits her fractured identity, a metaphorical expression of ultimate grief made literal. Whether brought on by ghost or man, these opponents have provided a means through which Maureen can funnel her trauma, trying to reach Lewis on the other side. But the ending of Personal Shopper seems to say that, instead, Maureen’s best chance of coming to peace with her brother’s death would be to go inward, addressing her own suffering spirit.”

    http://www.vulture.com/2017/03/lets-talk-about-the-ending-of-personal-shopper.html

    Reply
  73. Akanimoh

    This has been an interesting forum and one of my major discovery this year, after this movie plagued my mind for lacking the simplicity for which I first viewed it.
    Reading through the responses, we can see a divergence in understanding especially from cultural contexts and all… but people still want to know exactly what this movie brings us to. So my contribution, as an affection of this closing year.
    First, I think the only death in this movie is that of Kristen’s brother, i.e. neither Kristen nor her boss died.
    Secondly, I think the movie is more cerebral than extra-terrestrial, I mean that ghost – towards the end of the movie, appearing independent of Kristen’s POV, must have been real and perhaps the only occurrence of a ghost, every other manifestation would have to be a figment of her imagination.
    Now, for the first point, let’s narrow it down to symbolism, we are at the mid-point of this movie and Kristen somehow succumbs to these strange texts, and masturbates. Follow that particular scene, from where she takes off the bra, goes back to the bed and lets it out; Then the next day she feels particularly disturbed, anxious?, she returns back with the package; now look at the exact locations where the blood trails, and right on the matrass where the blood settles. [Red Herring], then she sees a scary presence attempts to follow it, then scramps to the police.
    Not Plausible?, listen to what the police chief said, along the lines of “so you ran away from a presence ? ”, No cuffs, no Investigative team, Paparazzi, not even the usual yellow tape at the scene of the crime!!, something is terribly off, perhaps a deliberate smokescreen.
    Ghosts, the second premise is of ghost, her brother [or whoever appeared BEHIND her at the gf’s home] had to be the only real deal. Or perhaps she is a ghost and was killed in that hotel, but if we have established her boss’s estranged ex, as only a stalker and nothing more (worse), then perhaps he didn’t kill her there and maybe his arrest later on was because she had reported him earlier at the precinct and whatever made these doors open and close was purely mechanical.
    One Interesting part in the movie, for those who didn’t catch it, a very short frame just after the arrest, a figure exactly in the same outfit as Kristen when she travelled, walked right across the Hotel, I think the director Assayas did this deliberately, I think to establish two things, first that my conclusions are wrong or that the frame was a peak into what was to come and Kristen was still alive.
    The girl (Kristen) is terribly grieved – and she plays the role just too well to notice anything outside this melancholy – and even though she doesn’t like it she is actually good at her job (personal shopping), aside from this she a terribly unreliable character, traumatised, desperate and vulnerable, hell she could have made up all of this, an heavy bang, another heavier bang, Yes! Kristen it is all you.

    Reply
  74. Bart

    Isn’t it possible that, just as Ingo was messing with Maureen with those text exchanges, so the filmmaker is messing with us?

    I.e., the filmmaker’s intent was to intrigue us with a film which is quite captivating but which does not contain sufficient or consistent data from which any coherent theory can be constructed?

    Some people like movies-as-puzzles-that-are-never-solved. Others people don’t. There’s no right or wrong. There’re just movies.

    Reply
  75. Watcher

    I totally noticed the idea of telecommunication being a form of spirituality/ghost communication, and that Gary seemed to get blurrier and more ghost like in the last call with him. Also noticed as someone else did that the ghost who dropped the glass looked like Gary. Did anyone notice that she never really drank anything other than a sip, and people were always leaving things behind?

    Reply
  76. Chantelle

    Yes, very late in the game. I do have to comment on a couple of things. I read through the comments and was fascinated! I loved all of them. I just have a few things in my head LOL

    1- The text messages were definitely from Ingo. He intrigued her enough in the first few messages, that she gave up too much in the beginning by asking if the person was dead or alive. She was easy to manipulate at that point. She admitted to wanting to be someone else (envy), wanting to wear her clothes and shoes (coveting Kyra’s things), and then admitting to it. He has evidence, pictures, and planted the jewelry. He was going to use this against her.

    2- When she changed out that SIM card and went to the hotel room she was on a mission. (I do not know why she spit out the original SIM card and left it in the store though ???) Anyways, she went early in the morning and barged right in that room because she knew he wouldn’t be there. She plotted with the police, and was doing exactly what they wanted her to. They wouldn’t have kept her in that room with a man they probably know just murdered his girlfriend. She was putting the jewelry on the bed so he could take it. Remember the clerk in Cartier said that one piece of jewelry was one of a kind? No one else would have it. He couldn’t claim anything else.

    3- I think the doors of the hotel opening and closing with no one there was actually representing Maureen. She came in, did what she had planned with the police, and left “like a ghost”. Ingo had no idea. He went to kill her, but got the jewelry instead and was happy with it. He didn’t expect the police.

    4- I believe Gary’s connection on Skype kept getting worse and worse, not because he was dying, but because her obsession with her brother’s death was causing her to be so much more distant from him. And that was represented by him “fading away” over time. When she got to Oman, he wasn’t there. But I believe he was, but not in the room at the time. He’s trying to help her find her peace, and I believe the “ghosts” were her own manifestations of her grief. They were meant to make her feel better, but ultimately just caused more chaos.

    I was diggin the death theories…but as much as I wanted them to, they didn’t make sense in my brain. But I love all of the theories all the same!!

    Cheers!

    Reply
  77. Sam

    Ingo was the murderer and phone stalker. Maureen worked with the cops.

    Maureen manifested all the ghosts. Look up “The Phillip Experiment”. This why the ghosts were always with her. This is what it meant when the ‘ghost’ answered “yes” when she asked if it was just her.

    Reply
  78. Daniel Cardona

    The hotel room is the key to put down the theory stating that she is dead.
    She does not enter to room 329 but the other room 330.
    Ingo and Maureen dod not meet at the hotel at all.

    Reply
  79. Baronimous

    Saw this for the first time on terrestrial tv yesterday and very much enjoyed it, though I had to think about the ending for some time and I was glad to find this thread.

    I got the feeling the Director did a bit of a David Lynch, not a bad thing, and left it somewhat open to interpretation – but not quite as much as Mulolland Drive 😀 – but this is what I took from it.

    She definitely was not a ghost or killed, otherwise we would have seen the ‘spirit’ at the end and she’d know who/what it was. There was nothing to suggest she was dead subsequent to the hotel room scene either. I don’t think the Director would have expected the viewer to assume she was dead post the hotel scene with no real concrete suggestions.

    However, I do believe the hotel scene is key, as what/whom she saw enter was key and this is my take on it.

    The idea of the spirit world or the unexplained in films is often most believable when it’s in tandem with a mental disturbance or a psychological trauma, like in Don’t Look Now, Truly Madly Deeply, or even Blow Up. And by introducing the idea that she (potentially) and her deceased twin brother (definitely) could communicate with the spirit world, an even closer connection with the unexplained is introduced.

    So you’ve got this in the back of your mind all the way through, as well as a very real murder.

    It’s this space between two worlds that Maureen inhabits, because since her brother’s passing she is not completely ‘in sync’. She is not in sync with her own spirit/psyche. So when we hear the door open and she looks up I think it is representing her spirit that is not completely joined with her that enters. It also leaves on its own, opening the doors invisibly in the hotel. And I think most things that happen in this movie are manifestations of that spiritual/psychological rift, from the poltergeist stuff to the scary images she sees. Like I say, the spiritualist theme introduces a bit of a grey area, but for me the clincher is when Maureen asks the unseen force at the end ‘or is it just me’ and it responds affirmatively. That is the answer. She is out of sync with herself and it is her mind/spirit playing tricks on her, so to speak.

    Reply
  80. Jeff

    I watched the movie yesterday and had a great time reading all your interesting comments. I don’t want to give in any further on the different theories and I truly believe that a work of art can and maybe should be somewhat ambigous. However, I also find the theory of her dying in the hotel room the most satisfying movie-wise.

    Just wanted to added two points: I LOVED the idea of further exploring the role of her boyfriend, who we never really see in person. Where IS he? Oman, sure. But what is Oman in this movie, is it a symbol for the afterlife? Somebody mentioned, that her boyfriend and her brother could even be somehow the some person. Could this be true? Nobody will ever know, but I love the idea.

    And what’s with the symbolism of drinks? The two coffees; one she drinks, one she does not. The beer she gets and not even opens. Then the wodka in Kyra’s appartment – and the same bottle later, when she’s killed. Also the glass of water after her supposed death. And the two glasses breaking after that.

    If I’ll watch this movie again, I’ll try to watch this more closely.

    Reply
  81. Jeff

    I watched the movie yesterday and had a great time reading all your interesting comments afterwards. I don’t want to give in any further on the different theories and I truly believe that a work of art can and maybe sometimes should be somewhat ambigous. However, I also find the theory of her dying in the hotel room the most satisfying movie-wise.

    Just wanted to add two points: I LOVED the idea of further exploring the role of her boyfriend, who we never really see in person. Where IS he? Oman, sure. But what is Oman in this movie, is it a symbol for the afterlife? Somebody mentioned, that her boyfriend and her brother could even be somehow the same person. Could this be true? Nobody will ever know, but I love the idea.

    And what’s with the symbolism of drinks? The two coffees; one she drinks, one she does not. The beer she gets and not even opens. Then the wodka in Kyra’s appartment – and the same bottle later, when she’s killed. Also the glass of water after her supposed death. And the two glasses breaking after that. That’s just the drinks I can remember without noticing it further on my first view.

    If I’ll watch this movie again, I’ll try to watch this more closely.

    Reply
  82. Lewis

    Hi there. I read many of the comments (not all of them) about this movie and the various explanations for the end. Very fascinating. I’ve my own theory, but I think this is the kind of movie where you can extrapolate and find the explanation that better suits your own judgment.
    I’d like only to analyse one section of the film, because some of the comments I read were saying that Maureen and Ingo uses 2 different rooms at the hotel: well, no, they don’t. They are clearly in the same room. Here is my analysis of the scenes, divided in “segment 1” (Maureen arrives at the hotel), “segment 2” (something is seen leaving the hotel) and “segment 3” (Ingo gets arrested and run away).

    SEGMENT 1 – MAUREEN
    Maureen arrives at the hotel and we see her coming out of one of three elevators to get into a room. There are other 2 elevators near the one she uses: one on her left (Ingo will try to use it in segment 3) and one on the other side of the hall (the one used by the “wtf entity” in segment 2 and accidentaly by Ingo in segment 3).
    Outside the hotel room Maureen is seen entering, there are 2 abstract paintings, one vaguely red and another vaguely yellow.
    Once she is inside, we hear what seems a door opening and closing, but whatever it is the door to her room is not totally clear.

    SEGMENT 2 – WTF ENTITY
    Here is the scene where the protagonist is what we can call the “WTF Entity” (Maureen? Lewis? Kyra? Something else?). It starts right outside the room taken by Maureen (the 2 paintings are visible on the left). The “wtf entity” takes one of the 3 elevators, the one at the opposite side of the other used by Maureen in segment 1. We follow the “wtf entity” down as she exits the hotel, with the sliding doors clearly opening and closing to something we don’t see.

    After that, there are few seconds of a scene taken outside the hotel, in the middle of the road. This brief scene seems to suggest that some time passes before what we are going to see in segment 3.

    SEGMENT 3 – INGO
    Ingo leaves room 329. It is clearly the SAME room used by Maureen because we see again the same 2 paintings on the left as Ingo walk through. He goes down the hall and calls one of the three elevators. While he’s waiting, another elevator (not called by him) suddenly opens behind him, and he takes it. It’s the same elevator used by the “wtf entity” before.
    He arrives down and takes the exit through the sliding doors. Now here’s the interesting thing, where it gets complicated. The sliding doors open and close again, reacting to nothing visibile, AFTER he has left the hotel. Something it’s clearly getting through again, but whatever it is the same “wtf entity” [or the “wtf camera operator!”] as before remains a total mystery.

    This is clearly the core scene for the interpretation of everything that follows, where both of the 2 major theories (“Maureen gets killed in the hotel and then goes to heaven after wandering around” and “Maureen and the ghost/Lewis/other entities/herself/etc. gets Ingo framed/apprehended”) are able to stand the ground of probability, depending on the point of view of the observer.

    Reply
  83. Matt

    Why does no one mention that she goes into Rm 330 (which is the first one past the two paintings) instead of Rm 329. Seems like Lewis is looking out for her. I think it is he that switches the number of the room in the hotel and you see his spirit leaving via the elevator doors. Maureen hears Ingo enter the room next door and you see Ingo leave that room which has 329 on the door and it is the second door past the two paintings.

    Reply

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