We here at Cosmopolitan are absolutely obsessed with movies, but we get that you’re a busy person and it’s hard to see all the films that are going to be “important” in any given year. In this series, Low-Key Highbrow, we’re giving you the basic gist on every one of those pictures you probably should have seen but never got around to. When your friend inevitably throws that Oscars watch party, we’re here to help you scam your way into sounding like the smartest person in the room.
When it comes to picking a movie to see with your significant other on Valentine’s Day, you might be tempted to go for a rom-com—something basic and, let’s face it, boring. There is nothing technically wrong with that. But it’s 2020 and your V-Day deserves MORE than a bad movie you will forget 10 minutes after you get home. So here’s a bold proposition: Take your date to see Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a French movie about lesbians that will absolutely destroy your tear ducts.
If you don’t know anything about the film, a quick intro: It takes place in 18th-century France and follows a woman named Marianne, who’s tasked with going to paint a portrait of another woman, Héloïse. Héloïse doesn’t want to be painted, though, because the portrait in question is supposed to be sent to a man in Milan who will then propose marriage to her depending on if he likes what he sees. Rude, frankly. Marianne tries to capture Héloïse’s essence on canvas, and the two of them fall in love in the process.
I know that description does not read as “sexy,” but this movie has its hot moments. I mean, it’s a French film, which means it’s not light on the nudity. There’s one close-up shot that you’re definitely supposed to think is one very intimate part of the body when it’s actually revealed to be another. A plot twist! But the real power of the movie is how it captures the love these two women share when they know their love is totally not allowed. And what’s sexier than a forbidden romance? I mean, come on, there’s a reason that’s one of the most popular movie tropes in the history of cinema.
This movie is ripe for Valentine’s Day viewing. It’s got romance, sexy stuff, forbidden lovers, and an ending that will leave you absolutely devastated. Plus, it’ll make you think about true love and shit. Enjoy!
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