Updated: May 5, 2020
I don’t know about you, but I’ve found in recent weeks there has been an influx of raunchy love scenes on the screen. With the halt of any interaction with the outside world, it’s proving a challenge for the singletons to sit and watch. Damn you PR managers, cleverly using this time of isolation to taunt us. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a romantic tale between two woman that, after some rants and raves from critics, I moved my sorry single ass to the sofa to watch.
First off, this is a French film, so if you aren't one for concentrating, then this isn't for you. But if you enjoy exploring the subtitles along with the drama, then it's bloody magnificent. There are so many shocking facts and messages I took away from this film that the director Celine had depicted about this period of time. The brutality of abortion, the arranged marriages, the challenges of being homosexual, the patience of an artist and many many more. The relationship between the two lovers is so engaging to watch as the camera lenses picking up every detail of touch and look between the women. Adèle Haenels acting is mesmerising in the film, and you feel such empathy for her arranged life. The final scene when she sits crying at the opera was so moving: I couldn't have thought of a better ending for the narrative.
The beginning is slightly slow but don't let that throw you off. I found some scenes slightly confusing as the director is so faint in her exploration of the storyline. Celine only gives the audience screen shots of scenes at a time so that you come up with your own ideas of the narrative. There were a few moments she could have used the script more to give the audience a better understanding of the story.
I felt myself transfixed at watching the indie film, definitely forgetting about the world around me. The story itself is very simplistic, with minimal characters and action, so it won't be for every viewers taste. However, if you enjoy an intense drama, and aren't fussed about seeing some nakedness on screen, it's a great true depiction of the pain two lovers go through to hide their love in this common era.