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Portrait of a Lady on Fire

2hrs 1min
Directed by
Céline Sciamma
Noémie Merlant, Adèle Haenel
Film Language

Winner of Best Screenplay and the Queer Palm at the Cannes Film Festival.

France, 1760. Marianne is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Because she is a reluctant bride-to-be, Marianne arrives under the guise of companionship, observing Héloïse by day and secretly painting her by firelight at night. As the two women orbit one another, intimacy and attraction grow as they share Héloïse’s first moments of freedom. Héloïse's portrait soon becomes a collaborative act of and testament to their love. 

Winner of a coveted Cannes prize and one of the best reviewed films of last year, Portrait of a Lady on Fire solidifies Céline Sciamma as one of the most exciting filmmakers working in the world today. Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel turn the subtle act of looking into a dangerous, engrossing thrill, crafting the most breathtaking and elegant performances of the year. To watch Marianne and Héloïse fall in love is to see love itself invented onscreen. With contemporary themes in period dress, Portrait of a Lady on Fire is one of the greatest love stories ever told.

Review Text

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is that rare movie in which every choice feels thought through, meaningful, and right, from the costumes by Dorothée Guiraud to the cinematography by Claire Mathon.

Review Author
Dana Stevens
Review Publication
Review Text

It’s a delicate drama that flourishes through the liberating power of art, where a hopeful yet consuming love affair sparks between two young women amid patriarchal customs, and stays concealed in their hearts both because of and in spite of it. 

Review Author
Tomris Laffly
Review Publication
Review Text

It’s a tender but complex love story, a slice of social commentary about the kinds of life and work opportunities historically available to women, a gorgeously shot period piece that’s heaven to look at.

Review Author
Stephanie Zacharek
Review Publication

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