Julian’s review published on Letterboxd:
Everything you've heard about it is completely true.
Was really afraid that my expectations would be way too high, but I'm very glad to say that the film somehow exceeded them.
From the beginning it's very clear that Céline Sciamma has created a film that's devoid from the male gaze. Very refreshing, since most lesbian films seem to be directed by men. Portrait's filled with passion, tenderness and pure sincerity and it's very noticeable that Sciamma put her heart and soul in this.
Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel Both deliver extremely great performances as the complex Marianne and Heloise and the chemistry between the two of them is out of this world.
The production and costume design are both VERY well-done. Unlike with many other period pieces, you could not tell that the set and -the very beautiful- costumes originate from the present, instead of the era the film takes place in.
The cinematography is absolutely astonishing. Every single shot could be framed and sold as artwork. The camera angles and movements are fantastic, and my God, amazing lighting in every single scene too! Beautiful colors! Water hasn't looked this great since La Vie D'Adele. Not sure if it necessarily worked with the setting, but it's gorgeous!!
Portrait of a Lady on Fire may be a very quiet film, when it comes to sound, but that doesn't stop the sound design from being nothing less than outstanding. You hear every breath, every wave, every small fire crackle and it's very pleasing and calming to listen to.
There's a whole lot of heartbreaking, perfectly written and jaw-dropping scenes in this, and while I would love to write a whole essay about that, please just experience it yourself!