‘Portrait Of a Lady on Fire’ Premieres on Hulu Tomorrow

While it opened in limited release in late 2019, and received an enormous amount of critical support at that time, Portrait of a Lady on Fire only began to expand to theaters around the country last month. Now those theaters are almost all closed due to coronavirus — and Portrait of a Lady on Fire is headed to streaming way earlier than anticipated.

Tomorrow, in fact; Hulu just announced via press release that Céline Sciamma’s acclaimed romantic drama will be available for streaming starting Friday, March 27. This is terrific news for homebound folks who didn’t see it in theaters when they had the chance — or never even had the chance because the film didn’t make it to their local arthouse.

Here’s the film’s official synopsis

Set in 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.

I’ve seen Portrait of a Lady on Fire multiple times now, and every time I watch it I like it more. It’s not the flashiest of movies; its pace is deliberate and its cinematography emphasizes lighting and composition over elaborate moves or tricks. But the performances by Noemie Merlant and Adele Haenel are remarkable, as is the film’s depiction of an isolated world that’s devoid of men yet eternally controlled by them all the same.

It’s romantic, tragic, and brilliant — and its lush period setting would make a pretty good escape from wherever you’re stuck right now. Check it out on Hulu starting tomorrow; the Criterion Collection Blu-ray of the film goes on sale in June.

Gallery — The Best Movies of 2019:


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