Review: Portrait of A Lady On Fire

We often use the word “luck” very loosely. For example, I was lucky to find something, or be some place at right time. Actually there is a precise word in English to describe that feeling. It’s called “serendipity”.

serendipity/ˌsɛr(ə)nˈdɪpɪti/Learn to pronounce noun noun: serendipity; plural noun: serendipities

  1. the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.”a fortunate stroke of serendipity”

The reason I remembered this word was that I discovered an exceptionally great movie (probably one of the Top 3 movies I have ever watched) purely because of serendipity.

Today, in the age of internet we are overloaded with information. It’s problem of plenty. What we need in today’s era is the curated content which we can spend time on. That’s where the value of referral comes in. If I know someone who shares similar thought process and sensibilities, and if that person is recommending something, I should rather follow – because that’s more likely to be curated content for me. (This has a negative side as well. It’s called Confirmation Bias. You only consume things which suit your agenda, your world view and ignore the rest. And in doing so, you further strengthen your views ,beliefs etc.)

I do exactly this when I follow people on Social Media. One of the people I follow is Varun Grover – writer, poet, stand-up comedian and much more. He recently tweeted and raved about this film called “Portrait of A Lady On Fire“. Since he had vouched for it, I relied on his wisdom/taste and watched it. And I’m mighty glad that I did!

This was one of the best movies I have watched – not this year, but all time! I’ll give it rating of 9 out of 10 – only because I feel that nothing can ever be (or should not be) a perfect “10 on 10”.

You can read reviews of this movie in detail here and here. But if you are planning to watch the movie, I suggest you do not read reviews, or any context about the plot, or any others details. You just go in on faith and experience it! The way I did! That’s the best way to really experience the magic – not knowing how the story unfolds and just letting yourself get immersed in the present moment.

The movie starts slow and grows on you and ultimately consumes you entirely. The photography is simply amazing! It’s piece of art – every frame is a painting – doing full justice to the underlying theme of painting. The dialogues are just superb. Even with subtitles, the dialogues maintain their core/essence of thought-provoking ideas and themes.

It is a movie one should watch alone, then discuss in depth with your loved ones, and then watch again together!

The hallmark of the movie is its screenplay. No wonder that the same person has written screenplay and directed this masterpiece. Also no wonder that the person happens to be a lady. Only a woman could have done justice to such women-oriented tender yet deep love story.

The movie has several amazing dialogues (one liners, or one line and a reply) which in isolation can be a point for great conversations over tea or coffee (or your other favourite drink). But beyond that there are many scenes, and passages which are also great themes for critical discussions.

The movie is available on several OTT platforms – Hulu and others. I watched it on https://mubi.com/

I also found a great video explaining the nuances of this movie. Do skip it if you want to watch the movie first.

P.S: The movie has few scenes of nudity and explores same-sex (lesbian). If you are not comfortable with it, then the movie is not for you.

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