Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire ★★★★★

I find it so interesting when a sparse world with sparse dialogue is so rich. Everything has been reduced and refined for maximum potency. Not a breath wasted, not a sound squandered, not a single extraneous prop or set piece. Literally everything in the frame is functional, and it's perfectly justified with the family's upcoming move to Milan. Only the essentials, and it's a massive, barren estate. The wind and candlelight will have you think you're in a ghost story, and suddenly forbidden romance with a dash of haunting seems like the only way to go.

My favorite scene of subliminal foreplay is when Marianne plays Vivaldi on the harpsichord for Héloïse. Rather than pulling the sheet off the harpsichord, she simply slides her hand underneath it, and it's so visually akin to reaching up a woman's skirt.

Portrait of a Lady on Fire has the most massively rewarding denouement of any movie I've ever seen. It sends it over the edge of perfect and into sublime.

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