MayaDeren_fan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Watching Portrait of a Lady on Fire was a time of reflection, looking back on all the films so similar to it (e.g. Persona, Blue is the Warmest Color, etc), and how they ultimately were better executed than this.
Not that this is an inherently bad film -- it isn't. I was never bored and there are aspects which are done really well. The lighting and composition work really well, and the film's sparse use of music heightens the power of the film's most crucial scenes.
However, overall the story is unremarkable and hamfisted, a sort of sad contradiction. There is no subtlety in its handling of plot elements. Again not a terrible film, just like, not that special or noteworthy.
Just a theory: like how Spike Lee really won best original screenplay on Blackkklansman for his work on Do the Right Thing, here Celine Sciamma won the screenplay award at Cannes because there were no other good awards for them to give her. Just a thought. That is all.