‘Clouds of Sils Maria’
Director: Olivier Assayas
Stars: Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart
4 (out of 5) Globes
Nearly every film about aging reaches the same conclusion: what a drag it is getting old. “While We’re Young” prowls deep into the anguish of realizing you can no longer rock a silly Bushwick hipster hat. “Clouds of Sils Maria” is different; it’s more ambivalent on the subject. It’s mature about it, which is not to say it’s chill. Indeed, Marie Enders — an international actress of Juliette Binoche-ish stature (played by Juliette Binoche) — is understandably freaking out. She’s quite reluctantly signed up for the same play that, as an up-and-comer, made her. This time, though, she’ll be playing the older role, while her former part will go to a Lindsay Lohan type (Chloe Grace Moretz) trying, unlike Lohan, to earn back some cred.
This might seem like the start of a pity party, especially as the bulk of it is spent in the Alps, with Maria grouchily relearning the source with the aid of her trusty personal assistant, Valentine (one Kristen Stewart). Then again, this is very much a film by Olivier Assayas. And Olivier Assayas (“Irma Vep,” “Summer Hours,” etc.) does not do histrionics, especially the kinds typically ascribed to actors. He’s passionately dispassionate, and he likes to simply observe and capture, showing how worlds, cultures and, in his period pieces (“Carlos,” “Something in the Air”), eras work. “Clouds” is modern day, and it’s awash in technology: people chat face-to-face over gizmos, learn about events in real time, sometimes while struggling to maintain constant wifi. But this isn’t a tech smackdown; it’s just how things today are.