"Clouds of Sils Maria" is an indie film which is currently in limited release. I was able to see this film due to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival which is currently going on. I have no idea when it is supposed to get a wide release.
The film stars Juliette Binoche as Maria Enders, an actress who is asked to play the older woman in a play which launched her career twenty years prior. The struggle which she goes through as this character reflects Enders' current life is interesting and allows for some good scenes in which the audience doesn't know which "character" is being acted.
Kristen Stewart plays her assistant, Valentine. I wasn't sure what to expect from Stewart going into this film. I've seen her in two of the "Twilight" films while I've also seen her perform as a badass Snow White in "Snow White and the Huntsman." This is a very different movie than either of those and I thought Stewart did quite well. The role is much more subtle and serious and Stewart pulled it off nicely and believably.
The chemistry between these two actresses is great as they are able to bounce off of each other easily. Their friendship is believable and is one I found to be refreshing.
Chloe Grace Moretz is in the film briefly towards the end. I was honestly surprised by how little she was actually in the film itself. Moretz plays a young actress with a typical Hollywood history of scandal who is supposed to play the opposite of Enders' character in the play. While not in the film a ton, I thought Moretz did fine in the role, but it wasn't anything I didn't think her capable of.
One thing which stood out to me throughout the film was the editing. Some scenes would seem to be cut short while others popped up after what seemed to be a major event. Also, many scenes ended with a fade to black. This seemed strange to me and gave an impression of disconnectedness throughout the film as each segment seemed to be its own entity.
There are some great scenes of humor though. For instance, there is a part towards the second half in which Stewart and Binoche discuss what is essentially the morals, ethics, and characters of superhero movies. It proved to be quite funny for me and showed the difference in opinion between the twenty-some year olds and the older generation in regards to what films are even worth talking about or taking seriously.
The acting is top-notch as well by the entire main cast. I never felt off about a performance. The characters which were portrayed, however, seemed off at times as some would change personas from scene to scene without good explanation. This is partly due to the story, which I was honestly bored by until about the last 45 minutes. Was it interesting? Sure, but it was done in such a strange fashion that I wasn't really able to appreciate it.
"Clouds of Sils Maria" is what I'm sure is a good film for the right audience. The acting is great by the central three actresses, and there is quite a lot of humor and ideas which the audience is left thinking about. It was the editing and parts of the story itself which really caused me to never be able to truly dive into the film, which is unfortunate due to the 3+ hours I waited around at the theater to see it along with my grand hopes for what I hoped was a much more engaging and interesting movie by the end credits.