During these most uncertain times, we have been delivered a morsel of respite: Céline Sciamma’s desperately beautiful and poignant look at lesbian love and the inherent camaraderie of women, Portrait of a Lady on Fire, is streaming exclusively on Hulu as of today, March 27.
Set in Brittany in 1760, the film chronicles the romance that unravels between Marianne (Noémie Merlant), an artist, and Heloïse (Adèle Hannel), whose marriage portrait Marianne has been commissioned to paint. The final product is to be sent to Milan, where a suitor is waiting for the arrival of his bride-to-be. As Heloïse is adamantly opposed to the marriage and wishes to return to her studies at a convent, Marianne must paint her portrait in secret, posing as a companion for daily walks and toiling by candlelight to finish the portrait.
Portrait of a Lady on Fire won Best Screenplay last year at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival. Recently, the entire cast of Portrait walked out of the César awards after Roman Polanski won Best Director at this year’s ceremony, so you know these women are powerful and outspoken both on- and off-screen.
Watch the trailer for Portrait of a Lady on Fire below, and check out Paste’s review of the film and meditation on the music utilized throughout. But most importantly, watch one of the most powerful, enthralling and relevant movies right now about free will, desire and isolation via Hulu here.