Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★

Excels in:
- its lead performances, the fine art of expression on the canvas that is Noemie "French Emma Watson doppleganger" Merlant, and that final shot of Adele Haenel...
- its masterful restraint with both story and mood.
- occasionally arresting visual blocking (there are many, but the most brilliant and meaningful one that keeps coming to mind is that of Marianne using a strategically placed mirror to etch a self-portrait) and intimate sound mixing (augmented by the absence of a score).
- evoking the rich elegance of a classical painting you might see in an art gallery at a famous museum.

But doesn't really qualify as a 5-flame experience because:
- this is Merchant Ivory, "Blue is the Warmest Color" and "Brokeback Mountain" put in a blender. Those films and filmmakers already happened, they were very special, and the unavoidably analogous "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" does not transcend (nor even quite equal) any of them in my opinion.

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