Veteran actress Maria Enders (a spot-on Juliette Binoche) launched her career a few decades back with her portrayal of a young personal assistant to an older businesswoman in the play Maloja Snake. In it, her character seduces and uses the older woman, eventually driving her to suicide. Now Maria has reluctantly agreed to appear in a stage revival of the play—but this time as the older woman, opposite Hollywood hottie Jo-ann Ellis (Chloë Grace Moretz), a bad-girl celebrity with a constant retinue of paparazzi.
But the main story lies in the differences in interpretation of the situation between Maria and Val (Kristen Stewart), her own personal assistant. Parallels emerge.
All three actresses do some of their best work to date, but Stewart’s unforced and convincing performance shows once again that there’s way more to her than that Twilight twaddle.
Although it’s in English, this is in theme and approach a French film, and may be a little meandering for some. Director Olivier Assayas is less interested in advancing a plot than he is in his characters and what they say. Interesting to note that the director’s 1985 Rendez-vous helped launch Binoche’s career. Japanese title: Actress: Onna tachi no Butai. (124 min)