First off, a small quibble on the title. The French is Portrait de la jeune fille en feu, or portrait of a young lady/girl. No big deal, but is it too much to ask to have the same title? Does everything have to be marketing? The movie’s in French, so stick to the translation.
That aside, I liked this movie. I very much liked it, though I’m not over-the-moon as so many critics seem to be. Peter Travers:
Some critics have referred to the film as “Call Me by Your Name with corsets.” But Sciamma, whose exemplary work on Water Lilies, Tomboy and Girlhood mark her as a major talent, paints the movie with unrivaled delicacy and feeling. From the costumes by Dorothée Guiraud to the stunning camera work by Claire Mathon (who deservedly won the cinematography award from the New York Film Critics Circle), Portrait of a Lady on Fire is enthralling on every level. In her hypnotic and haunting film, alive with humor, heartbreak and swooning sensuality, Sciamma has created nothing less than a timeless work of art
A little much, methinks. Recalls how critics tripped over themselves with Much Ado About Nothing. Very different film here, of course. And not to give any more credit to the dismal Academy Awards than necessary, but the French didn’t even enter Portrait as their official submission — so they didn’t consider it some great masterpiece. Timeless, masterpiece — give me a break.
But did I mention I really liked it? 8/10
PS: That would put it in the top 5 of 2019, but I am annoyed at all this late release nonsense. When it’s time to make my 2020 list, I’ll decide where to put Portrait.