Portrait of a Lady on Fire

The tag line says that the movies is about a woman is hired to paint a portrait of a woman in advance of her wedding.  I am having a hard time describing how I feel about this film.  Have you ever watched a film where you just know that you’re watching something really special?  Maybe 2001: A Space Odyssey?  I felt that I had that kind of experience while watching it.  I’d have to say that it was the best film that I’ve watched in the last calendar year.

First, the movie is crazy beautiful to look at.   Every shot and every frame feels like it was painted using the same kind of detail and precision that the artist uses to paint her picture.  There wasn’t a single unnecessary or lazy scene in the film.  Everything from the landscape to the intimate glances were just perfect.

I also really appreciated the references to the artistic process.  It never occurred to me that while the artist was trying to drink in every aspect of the model that the model might be doing the same thing in return.  Or that maybe a viewer might see a portrait in a different way in a different time because they have changed.  Watching the movie felt very much like staring at a beautiful painting for a couple of hours when you have only really begin to scratch the surface in that amount of time.  The same is probably true of the feminist angles that the movie touched on – I don’t feel nearly qualified to comment on that angle.

Very minor spoiler ahead

Spoiler

Finally, the forbidden relationship.  Being set in the 1700’s meant that a woman’s fate was mostly sealed.  The women had no illusions about what they were and were not allowed to do so that didn’t cloud their time together.  There were a beautiful few days of discovery and then both knew it would be over.  The final scene was perfect.  The whole movie is just lovely.

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IHATEBadMovies.com reviews Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Movie title: Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Movie description: On an isolated island in Brittany at the end of the eighteenth century, a female painter is obliged to paint a wedding portrait of a young woman.

Date published: 2020-04-11

Director(s): Céline Sciamma

Actor(s): Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel, Luàna Bajrami, Valeria Golino, Christel Baras, Armande Boulanger, Guy Delamarche, Clément Bouyssou, Michèle Clément, Cécile Morel

Genre: Drama, Romance

My Review

The tag line says that the movies is about a woman is hired to paint a portrait of a woman in advance of her wedding.  I am having a hard time describing how I feel about this film.  Have you ever watched a film where you just know that you’re watching something really special?  Maybe 2001: A Space Odyssey?  I felt that I had that kind of experience while watching it.  I’d have to say that it was the best film that I’ve watched in the last calendar year.

First, the movie is crazy beautiful to look at.   Every shot and every frame feels like it was painted using the same kind of detail and precision that the artist uses to paint her picture.  There wasn’t a single unnecessary or lazy scene in the film.  Everything from the landscape to the intimate glances were just perfect.

I also really appreciated the references to the artistic process.  It never occurred to me that while the artist was trying to drink in every aspect of the model that the model might be doing the same thing in return.  Or that maybe a viewer might see a portrait in a different way in a different time because they have changed.  Watching the movie felt very much like staring at a beautiful painting for a couple of hours when you have only really begin to scratch the surface in that amount of time.  The same is probably true of the feminist angles that the movie touched on – I don’t feel nearly qualified to comment on that angle.

Very minor spoiler ahead

Spoiler

Finally, the forbidden relationship.  Being set in the 1700’s meant that a woman’s fate was mostly sealed.  The women had no illusions about what they were and were not allowed to do so that didn’t cloud their time together.  There were a beautiful few days of discovery and then both knew it would be over.  The final scene was perfect.  The whole movie is just lovely.

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  • My Review - 9.5/10
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