Life imitating art and vice versa is a common theme in film. In Clouds of Sils Maria, aging actress Maria Enders, the wonderful Juliette Binoche, is a stage actress who is recruited back to the stage in the play that made her famous. The catch is that she is playing the role of the victimized older woman instead of the manipulative ingenue. This proves challenging to her and she fights against the role, which she can’t relate to. Her assistant Val, Kristen Stewart, reads with her and it becomes clear that both are fulfilling the roles they are reluctant to take. Maria spends much of the movie trying to convince Val that she can’t relate to the role, but it is Val’s insistence that she view the role in a different light that helps her let go of how she sees herself in favor of accepting that she has matured beyond the innocent starlet she once was.
There are a lot of great performances here and the layers of this film make it a deeply reflective experience.
A little bittersweet seeing Juliette Binoche embrace her age, but I still give it…
4 out of 5