Jake Alda Coffey’s review published on Letterboxd:
#20 — Directed by a woman
Portrait Of a Lady on Fire is about a female painter during the 18th century who travels to a small isolated island off of France to paint a portrait of a woman who’s getting married. However, this woman doesn’t want her portrait taken so she has to do it in secret. And with that, they begin to form a special bond together.
This movie just gets better after every watch. Picking up the tiny details adds more flavor to it upon rewatches. What makes Portrait of a Lady on Fire so special is that it takes its time. It doesn’t rush anything and waits for the right time for certain things to happen, which I think is great. The movie is delicate and beautiful and so are the paintings that our protagonist Marianne paints. The island sets as a beautiful backdrop for this love story between these to characters.
What’s so interesting about Portrait of a Lady On Fire is that there’s no music or score within the movie. And you don’t even care because you’re so entranced in this story. It took ,e three viewings before realizing this, which is odd too cuz I usually pick up on these things pretty early on. There’s a sense of rhythm with Portrait of a Lady on Fire between the characters and the sounds around them that makes it very poetic.
It’s such a shame Portrait of a Lady on Fire wasn’t selected by France for their entry at the Oscars last year, where instead they chose Les Miserables. Cuz this was one of the best French movies I’ve seen in a long long time and is just a near perfect movie. Just like the paintings Marianne create in the movie, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a work of art.