Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★

I’ve been hearing nothing but rave reviews about this one for months, I finally had a chance to catch it for myself and I really liked it, but it’s not the “masterpiece” I’ve been led to believe. First off, it’s French so it’s one of those movies you have to read. I don’t mind, but some Americans do for whatever reason. I didn’t know anything about it other than two old-timey French women fall in love and stuff...and one of them paints or something. It’s a very beautiful portrayal of romance and sexuality, the two lead actresses and the direction really make you believe in the power of those things, but the film takes too long to reach it’s destination for me. This third girl is thrown into the mix and I don’t know why she’s there, everything would happen pretty much exactly the same if she wasn’t. She slows this otherwise magical and passionate love story down with her soups and pouches of heated beans. She turns it into a sitcom relationship. A lot of will-they-won’t-they action going on. We’ve all seen “Friends”. We all know Ross and Rachel end up together. So...let’s make this happen already. The story starts to fall apart for me towards the end, it has like three endings. I thought it ended and was like, “Wow, that was really poetic”, but then it went on for 10 more minutes, they botched that one. It didn’t connect with me on all of the emotional levels it was trying to. Visually, this movie is flawless. They shot at a lot of beautiful locations, amazing cinematography, if this were a nature documentary I’d give it a perfect score. But it’s not so I’ll give it an 8.4/10. This is definitely the type of movie Martin Scorsese pops on while he’s trying to forget about those Marvel movies he hates so much.

Watched at Middleburg Film Festival 2019.

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