Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

I’m not a fan of period pieces, so this was never going to be for me. My distaste of it as a genre is mostly defined by people slowly falling in love in relative silence; this movie, though deeply beautiful, is precisely about two people very slowly falling in love in what is possibly the quietest film not involving noise-sensitive aliens. 

It’s gorgeous, and has some wonderful use of Orpheus as metaphor, but it’s a very quiet movie about quiet looks and repressed emotions and intense, silent longing. This is a great film if that’s your thing, and I can fully understand how people rank this at five stars; I, however, was bored to tears (because, as you may have noted above, I don’t care in the least for period films), and was able to wring precisely one star of enjoyment from it. 

I’m not here to judge what I perceive to be the universal merits of a film and rank it accordingly; I’m here to judge how much I enjoyed the experience. I wish it could be more than this single star, and went in with an open mind, but the genre simply isn’t my bag. And despite the hilariously presumptive rudeness of a commenter, I actually admired its all-female cast and crew, and appreciated that it took a queer approach; I just do not like the romantic period piece genre, and this is a very distilled example of said genre, and my enjoyment of it is reflected accordingly. Your mileage may and likely will vary.

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