To watch Portrait is to face what we have lost through apathy, contentment, and laziness. Film convention has captured many wonderful parts of life, but it’s also left a lot untouched. As much as some of us may rant about what’s missing, few of us have figured out how to upend over a century of defining and reinforcing what cinema is. Sciamma did it
If, like me, you don’t delight in the kerfuffles along the way, this whole thing can feel like a plod towards the inevitable.
The film falls into stale traps, ones so basic and obvious that it’s almost maddening to see them regurgitated for yet another rote thriller. Women in peril? Check. Completely gratuitous violence? Check. Female characters with almost every feminine quality drained from them? Big check.