Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★½

I really regret not catching this on the big screen. I remember the hype for it but it was only screening in one theater in my area and not for very long. I could’ve made the time to see it but I didn’t. It was showing at a recently renovated theater too. Still regret it to this day because this was a visually stunning film. Would’ve been a delight to appreciate this on a big screen and with the sound from the waves hitting you via crisp surround sound. Regardless, I’m glad I finally experienced this one way or another. 

I admittedly don’t have a lot of perspective or original thoughts to add about this film but I’ll list some of what blew me away about it: 

Mainly the details surrounding the two lead performances and the script. For example, early you could clearly see Marianne closely studying Héloïse with her eyes trying to figure out how to paint her. Or the callback to the opening scene by highlighting the way Marianne learned to fold her hands like that from Héloïse (one of a few moving callbacks). 
I can see why this won Best Screenplay at Cannes that year. 

Obviously the chemistry between the two leads was impeccable. The vivid emotions always on display on their faces. The way they held eye contact. Their raw reactions. Everything just felt so real between Marianne and Héloïse. 

Another thing that struck me was the sharp contrast in colors used between the indoor and outdoor scenes. 

And that ending. It was heartbreaking. But not in an overwhelming or shocking way. Like a subtle type of heartbreaking end to their story. Especially in that final shot: the combination of the callback to an earlier scene and their raw emotions on display one last time. 

Overall, a movingly beautiful film in such subtle ways.

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