Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★

Turn around.

Felt like a good time to give this a second viewing, considering it's both pride month and I had completely forgotten that the myth of Orpheus played a significant role in this. I absolutely underrated this on a first watch, even if I still don't think it's one of the best movies ever made or anything like that. But, what it absolutely is is a stellar romance film that finds beauty in its historical past while still feeling universal in how it portrays love slipping away from your fingertips. Portrait of a Lady on Fire so expertly captures sensuality. It takes its time to build its romance, like how a fire doesn't begin as something major. It needs friction, fuel, a spark. By the time the romance between Marianne and Heloise becomes fully realized, you completely believe that in these interactions they have had beforehand, they have this profound connection. The art in the film is beautiful, yet I also like how Marianne's first portrait of Heloise looks very nice, it has nice colors and it captures her appearance well, but there is absolutely something missing from it. Seeing how the art changes with time, it's thrilling in a quiet way to see the two lead characters dig into each other and learn the slightest intricacies of one another. For a film that knows how to utilize peace and quiet well, its two moments of bombastic music hit like a smack to the back of the head. Just like you could argue like is done in here why Orpheus turns around to look at Eurydice, you could argue why Marianne looks back to Heloise. Is it out of love, is it to preserve one final memory, or something else? Whatever you get out of the film and the relationship as a whole, I find it undeniable that this is going to go down as a principal queer and general romance film of the past decade. It burns.


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