A veteran stage star (Juliette Binoche) turns to her assistant (Kristen Stewart) for solace as she jousts with an arrogant younger actress (Chloë Grace Moretz) in the brilliant new film from Olivier Assayas (Something in the Air – JDIFF 2013).

Clouds of Sils Maria began with a challenge from Juliette Binoche to write a deep and complex female role, and Assayas has responded with a film that is at once urgent and magisterial, delving into the female psyche through not just one but three women. Binoche plays Maria, a famous actor who rose to success with her role in an acclaimed lesbian play in which she played the younger part opposite a middle-aged lover. Now, years later, she is approached to do the same play – this time in the role of the older woman. As life begins to mirror art, Maria finds herself facing a younger version of herself in the form of Jo-Ann (Chloë Grace Moretz), the actor hired to play opposite her.

Piers Handling
Toronto International Film Festival