David O. Selznick was an obsessive control freak who usually ended up hurting more projects than he helped. But he deserves a lot of credit for taking on interesting and daring material that most producers at that time never would have touched. [i]Portrait of Jennie[/i] is one of those pictures, a unique and complicated romance that turned out to be the best picture Selznick ever produced, despite the problems he had on set.
It's Depression-era New York, and Joseph Cotten is a struggling artist. Despite support from two sympathetic art dealers, he hasn't found the one passion he needs to make him great. One day, he meets Jennifer Jones in the park where she's building a snow man. She's ten years old and very strange, talking about things that happened long before she could have been born. Cotten thinks she's just a funny kid, but something about her stays with him and he sketches her portrait, and its one of the best thing's he's ever done. From then on, he continues to meet Jones, but everytime he sees her, she's aged unnaturally.
It's the most beautiful love story I've ever seen. Love transcending not just death, but time also, to find the one person you're meant to love is just the most purely beautiful story I've heard. And it's filmed beautifully. The film becomes a bit misty whenever Jennie is around, and the scene at the lighthouse filmed all in green is great. It's score is great, and adds to the feeling. The bulk of the score is adapted Debussey works, which have an almost otherworldly feel to them already, reworked slightly to sound a little moreso.
Jennifer Jones and Joseph Cotten share a really intense, unique chemistry. Their relationship in the beginning, when she's just a kid is light and fun. As she grows older, it becomes romantic, and I think it's fascinating that they were able to portray such drastically different types of chemistry, while making their relationship seem like one that's progressing over years with just a few scenes.
[b]Final Grade: [/b]A+