Bitte aktualisiere deinen Browser um MUBI optimal nutzen zu können.
Critics reviews
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Céline Sciamma France, 2019
Behind the veil of a doomed queer love story, Sciamma adds a masterstroke to the rewriting of art history. Where would a light not ignited by the fire, the anger or the impatience of sexual difference come from? And more importantly, if we followed its trail, where would it lead us?
April 26, 2020
Read full article
There are some films so exquisite that any attempt to put them into words feels like an act of violence.
February 26, 2020
Read full article
It’s a rare musical moment in a sonically restrained film; the camera and Marianne fix unflinchingly on Héloïse as she listens raptly, a wrenching sequence of expressions registering on her face. Contrary to the privileged and possessive logic of the male gaze, Portrait of a Lady on Fire presents a queer love story in which looking can be intensely painful for the beholder.
February 18, 2020
Read full article
Portrait of a Lady on Fire is that rare movie in which every choice feels thought-out and meaningful. Just like the short time these women have together, it is minimal but ideal, without an image, glance, word, or brushstroke to spare.
February 15, 2020
Read full article
What really sets this movie apart is that by looking for equality between its characters, it leaves a trail of delicately subverted expectations. Part of how it does this is by embracing the unique dynamics that are possible when the two people in love are both women.
February 13, 2020
Read full article
Incandescent filmmaking of the highest order, the kind that permanently brands you with its soul-reaching flame, Céline Sciamma’s “Portrait of a Lady on Fire,” an 18th century lesbian romance between a bright painter and her strong-willed subject, unquestionably turns the French auteur into a blazing master.
February 12, 2020
Read full article
Sciamma has a great feel for structure, for emotional arcs, and for pinpoint-accurate catharses that nevertheless preserve the tantalizing enigma of her characters. The film is filled with moments of unforgettable intimacy and passion.
February 12, 2020
Read full article
Sciamma and cinematographer Claire Mathon give the film the luscious, tactile beauty of an oil painting.
December 23, 2019
Read full article
Sciamma composes static tableaux featuring Haenel and Merlant in poses that feel both spontaneous and taut, rigidly unnatural and utterly authentic. The two actresses are relentlessly graceful, endowed with physical aplomb, contemplative insight, and strong emotion.
December 10, 2019
Read full article
If the film lurches at times with schematic dudgeon—devolving into a checklist of coolly outraged points to be made—it also gloriously blooms as a tale of lesbian ardor.
December 06, 2019
Read full article
French filmmaker Céline Sciamma, who directed Girlhood and wrote Being 17 and the insouciant animated film My Life as a Zucchini, makes her most ambitious film yet in Portrait of a Lady on Fire. Sciamma’s 19th-century story ventures into what we think of as the literary past  -The Brontës, Stendhal and, of course, Henry James - for a love story that fashionably goes against convention.
December 06, 2019
Read full article
It is not enough to say that Portrait of a Lady on Fire is about queer desire, but rather about the queerness inherent in desire.  The film returns again and again to this notion—to the heartbreaking but sublimely felt experience of desire as that which is suspended, but immortalized in possibility.
December 05, 2019
Read full article
There is a precision about who is regarding whom and what it means that is worthy of Claude Chabrol or Alfred Hitchcock.
December 05, 2019
Read full article
The subtle charms of Céline Sciamma’s picture-perfect Portrait of a Lady on Fire make themselves known slowly and surprisingly, like the finest kind of cinematic romance.
October 17, 2019
Read full article
Portrait does not feel burdened with historical detail or shackled to period fidelity; the film operates more like a luminous reimagining of what could have happened behind closed doors, when geographical loneliness lent the unexpected pleasure of freedom from automatic social patterning.
October 11, 2019
Read full article
The craft of the film is undeniable, but with a central romance that never becomes the emotionally resonant experience it is set up to be, no amount of skilled assemblage can make Portrait of a Lady on Fire more than a beautiful decoration.
September 11, 2019
Read full article
One of the most extraordinary aspects of the film is how the passionate romance between these two characters differs from those in the many movies we’ve seen about male artists and their female subjects or muses. . . . In Sciamma’s film, power is not an erotic lubricant, and that could be the reason that the depiction of sex in Portrait of a Lady on Fire is devoid of exploitation.
July 01, 2019
Read full article
It is a film of quiet pleasures that percolates with the sadness of an inevitable goodbye—telegraphed from the opening shot, and still devastatingly powerful when it is finally conjured up.
May 27, 2019
Read full article
The romantic tension between Héloïse and Marianne is built up so slowly and minutely that when they first kiss you are as relieved as you are delighted. Sciamma uses intimate close-ups and shots that play with the act of looking to portray their love affair, and seems to imply that attention can be extractive as it is flattering – it depends on who is looking.
May 23, 2019
Read full article
It’s a great example of how a well-told story, with vivid characters, can seep right into your bones and keep you thinking for days afterward—and the pleasure felt while watching it isn’t negligible either.
May 22, 2019
Read full article
Watching Céline Sciamma’s haunting and downright revolutionary fourth feature makes me think about all the phoney period dramas I’ve sat through. Prestige heritage cinema is so often packaged for women, but rarely does it bother with the nitty gritty of their lives beyond who the characters will marry.
May 21, 2019
Read full article
Assaying her first period film, an exquisitely executed love story that’s both formally adventurous and emotionally devastating, she sticks the landing like a UCLA gymnast in peak condition. It’s so good you’ll want to watch again in slow motion immediately afterward just to see how she does it.
May 20, 2019
Read full article