Format: Streaming video from Hulu+ on rockin’ flatscreen.
Every year when the latest version of the 1001 Movies list comes out, I decide which of the movies I haven’t seen is going to be the one I save for last. This year, the choice was clearly going to be Portrait of a Lady on Fire (or Portrait de la jeune fille en feu if you prefer the original French). On Letterboxd, 45% of the ratings are five stars, and more than 85% are four stars or more. It was very much a case of saving the best for last.
Sometimes I don’t like to show my hand, but I’m going to for this. Portrait of a Lady on Fire is everything I want in a romance film. It’s beautifully filmed, filled with lingering and tender shots, and best of all, tragic. I’m not apologetic about this—tragic romances are better specifically because they are tragic romances. It’s the yearning that makes them work, that sense of living a whole life in a few days that makes them beautiful. And that, flatly, is Portrait of a Lady on Fire.