Clouds of Sils Maria
R1 - America - Paramount Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Abraham Phillips (14th August 2015).
The Film

I was a little apprehensive going into this, because honestly, I was turned off by Kristen Stewart starring in it. I had only really seen her in the "Twilight" films (2008-2012), and I unfairly pre-judged the film based on this. I have to say my mind was forever changed after witnessing her character of Valentine in "Clouds of Sils Maria". She did an utterly fantastic job. She owned her character, and brought the character to life in a believable reality that stays with you long after the film is over.

I think that is what makes this film so strong. All the actors and actresses are just brilliant. The wonderful and beautiful Juliette Binoche plays your main lead, Maria Enders. Binoche has always been a constantly terrific performer. Coming in third in the performance spectrum is someone that is majorly becoming a high class commodity in Hollywood, Chloë Grace Moretz. Not even 20 years old, and she has more than 50 TV and feature film performances under her belt. Her character of Jo-Ann Ellis is yet another in a series of fantastic performances from the young starlet.

The plot is about Maria Enders who is a famous movie star the world over. She travels with her assistant Valentine. Her career was made famous twenty years ago by starring in stage and film adaptions of Wilhelm Melchior’s "Maloja Snake". Maria is traveling to Zurich to accept an award on behalf of Melchior. Her plan is to accept the award and then visit the elderly playwright at his house in Sils Maria, which is located in the Alps. Once at the ceremony Maria learns he has died. She then learns he had been terminally ill for quite some time and decided to kill himself. While at the ceremony a new theater director approaches her to appear once again in the new stage play of "Maloja Snake" not as the lead but as the character of the old woman. So begins Maria's journey.

As all this unfolds, her memories of her relationship with Melchior surface. All this is displayed lovingly on screen through wonderfully emotional performances. It's a deep story that takes viewers through a character's mysterious past and leads to an emotional present. The film has garnered many positive reviews. Stewart won a César (France's version of the Oscars) for Best Supporting Actress, becoming the first Female American to ever winner this award. It was also selected at many film festivals including Cannes, Toronto and AFI Fest.

This is written and directed wonderfully by Oliver Assayas. A fantastic French director who is under-appreciated and overlooked in many ways. "Clouds of Sils Maria" is a prime example of his expertise in the art form of film making. I have seen many of his films, but I have to say that "Clouds of Sils Maria" really stands out as being a truly well thought-out script, and equally directed in a fashion that stands out above and beyond many feature films.

Video

Presented in anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1, The video is absolutely beautiful. The colors are truly vibrant. A landscapes look amazing through the cinematography by Yorick Le Saux. The texture, imagery of landscapes, and surroundings look great. He is able to create an atmosphere to his films that stand out. Through the quality of this DVD you’re able to see and experience that beauty through a wonderful transfer.

Audio

Two audio tracks are included in English Dolby Digital 5.1 surround and French Dolby Digital 5.1 surround, The audio is everything it needs to be. Everything is crystal clear. There was no moment that stood out to fault the quality of sound. Optional subtitles are included in English, French, and Spanish.

Extras

There sadly is no extras. There is the basic scene selection and setup options.

Overall

The tight direction along with the strong script and flawless acting creates a great piece of cinema that truly is something to be talked about and remembered. Something that ultimately stands out in this film is the characters, where you wish to explore them over and over again. I feel this is a movie that should be appreciated and explored, and most of all talked about.

The Film: A Video: A Audio: A Extras: F Overall: B-

 


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