Don’t start considering your Best Movies of 2019 list until at least December 9, when Portrait of a Lady on Fire comes out.
The French drama, about an artist (played by Noémie Merlant) falling in love with the engaged woman (Adèle Haenel) whose wedding portrait she was hired to paint, has been called one of the finest films of 2019 and the “lesbian love story we deserve”; IndieWire even went so far as to name it one of the best movies of the decade. The comparisons to Call Me By Your Name are tempting (and have already started), as both films are about queer romances in exotic locations. But based on the trailer above, unlike Luca Guadagnino’s Oscar nominee, Portrait is more deliberate in its longing.
See what all the hype is about. Here’s the official plot summary:
France, 1760. Marianne is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse, a young woman who has just left the convent. Because she is a reluctant bride-to-be, Marianne arrives under the guise of companionship, observing Héloïse by day and secretly painting her by firelight at night. As the two women orbit one another, intimacy and attraction grow as they share Héloïse’s first moments of freedom. Héloïse’s portrait soon becomes a collaborative act of and testament to their love.
Directed by Céline Sciamma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire opens on December 6.