Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Portrait of a Lady on Fire

A romance blooms between a painter and her subject, a bride-to-be, in this historical romance from writer-director Céline Sciamma (Girlhood). Winner of the Queer Palm and Best Screenplay at Cannes (and nominated for the Palme d'Or).

"Set in 18th-century Brittany, Portrait of a Lady on Fire follows Marianne (Noémie Merlant), an artist commissioned by an Italian noblewoman (Valeria Golino) to paint a portrait of her reclusive daughter Héloïse (Adèle Haenel), who is soon to be married. The peculiar conditions of this assignment, however, require that Marianne never announce to Héloïse the objective of her visit. Instead, Marianne is to escort Héloïse on walks, posing as a hired companion while closely observing her subject so as to render her likeness on canvas in secret.

"Dissatisfied with her initial portrait, Marianne petitions her patroness for a second chance. Marianne then confesses the ruse to Héloïse, procuring her cooperation and allowing the women to forge a much closer bond — one that will lead to a passionate intimacy." (Toronto International Film Festival)

2019Rating: M, Mature themes and nudity119 minsFranceFrench with English subtitles
DramaRomanceHistoricalWorld CinemaFestival & Independent

Streaming (5 Providers)

Portrait of a Lady on Fire / Reviews

Sydney Morning Herald

Sydney Morning Herald

In its directness of feeling, the film risks slipping into a modern kind of sentimentality. "Do all lovers feel like they’re inventing something?" Heloise asks, one of the more heavy-handed lines. But the film, like its characters, mingles openness and reserve; there are pockets of mystery all the way through.

Full review
New Zealand Listener

New Zealand Listener

But the languor with which the story unfolds is the most courageous move, and yet the film remains utterly captivating. The ultimate displays of passion may feel a little bloodless, but it’s hard not to be moved by the ending to this understated wonder.

Full review
Stuff

Stuff

Portrait of a Lady on Fire is a love story, a treatise and an elegant manifesto. As a film – and as a soundtrack – it is a thing of beauty. And, as a piece of writing and performance, you won't see, or hear, much better this year.

Full review
Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair

In [writer-director Céline] Sciamma's gifted hands, the film escapes cliché and becomes something glorious - a study of forbidden love that grandly highlights how much has been lost under the crush of hetero patriarchy.

Full review
The Age

The Age

The fire burns slowly, but there's no lack of heat in Celine Sciamma's period love story.

Full review
Variety

Variety

One can hardly ignore the fact, as true then as it is now, that the world looks different when seen through a woman’s eyes.

Full review
Time Out

Time Out

It’s deeply romantic and also deeply thoughtful – an electric combination.

Full review
The Telegraph

The Telegraph

Sciamma’s splendid, multi-layered conceit manages to carry equal weight as a love story and a manifesto of sorts for feminine art.

Full review
The Guardian

The Guardian

A superbly elegant, enigmatic drama ... I was on the edge of my seat.

Full review
IndieWire

IndieWire

Razor-sharp and shatteringly romantic...

Full review
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

An exquisitely executed love story that's both formally adventurous and emotionally devastating...

Full review

Portrait of a Lady on Fire / Trailers