PERSONAL SHOPPER • CERTIAN WOMEN • CAFÉ SOCIETY • BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK
"With grace, stealth and startling modesty, this onetime teen-franchise star has fashioned herself into one of the most inventive and subtle character actors in the movies today." - AO Scott
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Behind the Scenes:
Click on all pics for full view.Hair: Adir Abergel
Makeup: Beau Nelson
Portrait Photographer: Jack Davison
New York Times Critics AO Scott and Wesley Morris talk about Kristen:
MORRIS: Huppert is among the last of a dying breed of psychological star. That kind of acting has tended to be closely associated with the Europeans and the Method people, but is it nuts to watch Kristen Stewart work and think: She could be Huppert’s daughter?
SCOTT: No more nuts than my own hunch, which is that Kristen Stewart is the new Robert De Niro. Back in the ’70s and ’80s, De Niro’s reputation as the best actor in American movies rested on his ability to vanish completely into each role, to effect a physical and psychological transformation so total that you could barely recognize him from one movie to the next. Some of what he did was a matter of what you might call technical extremism: learning Sicilian dialect for “The Godfather Part II,” pushing his body from sinewy fighting trim to has-been bloatedness in “Raging Bull.” Stewart hasn’t quite done that yet, but she burrows as deeply as De Niro ever has into the interiors of her characters, arranging her expressions, her carriage, her vocal inflections — even, it can seem, her height and bone structure — accordingly.
You could say that, having been made, perhaps reluctantly, into a movie star by the “Twilight” movies, she has lately reinvented herself as the character actor she might have always preferred to be. Apart from her lead performance in Olivier Assayas’s “Personal Shopper,” she has been an ensemble player in 2016, with roles in Woody Allen’s “Cafe Society,” Kelly Reichardt’s “Certain Women” and Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk.” But the fact that she’s the most interesting person in all of those movies suggests that her movie-star charisma is still intact. She’s just using it in subtle and occasionally subversive ways.
MORRIS: I think Kristen Stewart is just about the best American movie actress we have. Her bad romance with movie stardom has served her well, because early exposure to its toxins might have fortified her resistance to mere fame. Unlike with, say, Ben Affleck, there’s no tension or ambivalence between her being an actor and her being a star. She appears to have rejected the latter to insist upon the value of the former. Lots of people can have it both ways, but it’s a balance that takes a while to achieve. Look at how long it took for Meryl Streep and Leonardo DiCaprio, whose allergy to overnight godliness foreshadowed Stewart’s. In the meantime, it’s fascinating to watch her flirt with stardom in the films she takes and the women she plays.
SCOTT: In “Cafe Society,” the Woody Allen movie, she takes what is, as written, an almost entirely functional character — the dream girl swooned over by both a middle-aged Hollywood mogul and his ambitious nephew; a catalyst of male desire and a mirror of masculine ego — and makes her into the only person in the film whose choices and desires really matter. In “Certain Women,” a much better movie, she slouches onto the screen with self-effacing diffidence. You may wonder if Elizabeth Travis, a young lawyer trying to earn some extra money teaching adult-ed classes to disgruntled teachers in a middle-of-nowhere Western town, is in possession of a backbone. Her posture is terrible. Her fashion sense is worse. She seems entirely capable of standing in front of a room full of people and vanishing from sight.
Except to a young ranch hand (Lily Gladstone), in whose eyes Elizabeth is a dazzling, almost magical creature, the most intoxicating and glamorous person she has ever encountered — a dangerous and alluring Edward Cullen to her own humble Bella Swan. But there is no winking from Stewart herself, and none of the kind of ostentatious deglamorization that stars sometimes traffic in when they are shopping for Academy hardware. If this is realism, it’s the kind that forces you to acknowledge the gaps and blurry spaces in your previous conception of reality.
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