I must admit that I'm a sucker for period pieces. The history and film parts of me will sit in awe with what's in front of me. "Portrait of a Lady on Fire" is one of those movies, and I'm heartbroken yet happy with what I've experienced.
Marianne (Noemie Merlant) is set on a task to paint a portrait of Heloise (Adele Haenel) before she moves to Milan, Italy to get married. The issue is that Heloise refuses to pose for the portrait, and Marianne has to spend time with Heloise to be able to paint her.
As the film continues, we discover that Marianne and Heloise start to develop a relationship. Their chemistry and longing for each other fills up the room when the only sound is the cracking of the fireplace. Their body language also speaks louder than words.
I do love a good film score, but this movie didn't need that. The waves crashing onto the shore, the paintbrush against the canvas and the crackling of the fireplace were the only sounds needed. Although, the longing for another person can be as loud as you think it can be.
The colors were also fascinating and lively. It really felt like I was watching a painting in motion with the film's attention to detail and color. The symmetry is also noticeable, but you can also feel like something is not right. That can be Marianne and Heloise's relationship knowing that it is perfect in the moment, but they will never be together at the end.
The film has those one lines that will punch you in the heart. It's poetry to the ears. Also, the tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice ties very well with the film. The ending is basically the cherry on top, and it is now one of my favorite scenes. The number 28 and Antonio Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" will stir up emotions.
The ending will make you hold your breath and sit with a broken heart. The only song that was played throughout the film, and it created the most powerful ending.
I want to somehow compare this to Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray" because both portraits shows someone's soul. But in this film's case, it's the soul that shows its passion and love for another person. In my opinion, it's romantic to take notice of small details. Marianne had to pay attention to small details of Eloise to be able to create the first portrait.
To put this all together, this film has to be the best I've seen for some time. The simplicity of the film ended with a bold statement. It's so beautifully done that it'll never be forgettable.