Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★

I have allowed some time to brew on this. What initially was perceived of confusing motivations and half-baked connections, notably in its first half, has slowly brought forth a sense of clarity on who these characters are and what they deeply want.

The connection that they have for one another, evolving from the simplicity of a professional relationship, begins to reveal shades of intimacy and purity, often conveyed through cryptic and cushioned exchanges - but equally understood, that is more felt here than blatantly seen or heard. 

We witness their initial guards slowly dissolve as more time is spent with one another, and though their togetherness is brief and under contained circumstances, one can identify in their subtle expressions - magnified through Céline Sciamma’s love for the close-up - that their passions and their heartbreaks are bubbling and affecting them inside.

Personally, I wished some of its subplots and particular thematic points were addressed with more precision and clarity, as even now with ample time of reflection, I am still unable to identify the crucial need for such components to be inserted, other than to provide a pillow for its central arc.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is quietly vivid, filled with passion that is both organic and tender. We watch the composure of these women slowly dissipate as we see them inch closer and closer, waiting to see how their love for one another flourish and burst through the seams.