Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★★

December 2019 is awfully late in the game for the best romantic film of the decade, but I'll take it.

So much going on here: the exquisite bifurcated structure, the way it tells us how to use our eyes and then trusts that we'll do as we were told, the minute control of focal depth to frustrate and intoxicate and tease, oh my god the COSTUMES, and the way it manages to use paintings both to show the inner life of the subject and the desire of the painter. Plus 100 bonus points for using Vivaldi in the most clichéd way possible and having it still completely flatten me into a tiny pile of crumbs.

People are talking about the ending and I absolutely see why, but I must insist that we not lose sight of how "first, my contours" is maybe the most sensual opening line in movie history.

(Full review at Alternate Ending)

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