Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

This film deals with a lot of subtleties. It is slow for this reason. The actors take their time in saying their lines and the emptiness between each passage further highlights the isolation and loneliness felt in that island. If you notice, there are many times in the movie in which the two characters steal glances from each other, almost in a longing way. A glance was good enough for them to fall in love and that's what makes it powerful.

Can only describe this film like staring into a fireplace. Like staring at a beautiful portrait. GORGEOUS film. My goodness. Gonna need a fire extinguisher for next time because I’m feelin’ hot now.

One of the main themes of this movie is Orpheus and Eurydice, Marianne is Orpheus who travels to the island (in a way it is hell) to meet his bride Eurydice (Heloise). Heloise and Eurydice suffer the same hellish and unchanging fate they cannot escape from, and as the movie suggests, both accept. Then there comes the concept of love. Marianne (Orpheus) as the artist/poet deals with love in the form of memory. In the last scene, Marianne is the only one who sees Heloise, and she is comforted by the sight alone. She continuously draws Heloise for her own pleasure, and memory. While Heloise only needs a rough sketch on a book. Returning to the scene, however, Heloise remembers Marianne by the music that is played, the music stirs her love. She does not need a sight. In a way, she feels Marianne by the other senses.

For the abortion sub-plot, I don't think there is a deeper meaning other than it was used as a device for the two to grow closer together. Also, this movie deals with female relationships. It was nice to see women friendships, especially in a movie without male characters.

For the dress on fire, it was not the first time Heloise was on fire. The first time was when Marianne burned her painting and it began on her chest (the heart, maybe). I remember one of the characters claimed that this is where they wanted to kiss the other for the first time. This scene is also the first in which we see Heloise smiling, so much so that she doesn't notice her dress catch on fire. She moves away from the fire, but still holds the gaze of Marianne. Heloise lived an unchangeable fate that she despised and her sister killed herself for it, but at that moment she didn't care. Her lover was there. Or at least thats how I interpreted it.

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