Céline Sciamma’s follow up to Portrait of a Lady on Fire is much narrower in scope but no less wonderful.
Weaving a fantastical story of loss and friendship and second chances as we follow Nelly (Joséphine Sanz) who has just lost her grandmother. Travelling with her mother back to help clear out her grandmother’s home where her mother grew up brings back lots of memories, good and bad, but mostly sadness for her mother.
Exploring the woods behind the house brings Nelly in contact with another young girl, Marion (Gabrielle Sanz) who she strikes up a good friendship with. Upon being invited back to Marion’s house it all seems so similar….
It is slightly complex in its nonlinear and twisty storytelling but it is sweetly done. This film is held up by some wonderful performances from the two lead girls but especially from Nelly as she explores and comes to a huge realisation about what and where she finds herself. There is some abrupt exposition midway through which felt a little forced or out of kilter with the style of the unfolding story but that doesn’t cloud what is a truly lovely little film.
And when you realise what the title actually means, it’s just beautiful.