The movie can perhaps be best described as a ghost story which isn't a horror movie.Painter Eben Adams is uninspired until he meets a young girl by the name of Jennie Appleton. The girl seems curiously out of place, speaks of her family working at a theater that's no longer in existence, and the second time Eben sees her, has aged quite a bit.
There's the core of a good story here, but it's also kind of frustrating - Adams never seems to have any curiosity about why or how someone from years ago is appearing to him, nor does he try to track her down in his present day after he realizes there's something odd about her (granted, this was a more daunting challenge back in those pre-internet days). There's also a ton of narration and stilted dialog - it's clearly an old adaptation of an even older book. And there's something creepy about the romantic feelings Adams develops toward a girl who, from his perspective, was something like ten years old scant weeks earlier.
If you overlook that, though, the romance is kind of interesting, and the movie plays with color tints in an interesting way toward the end, having previously been entirely in black-and-white - or the print WGBH used (the local PBS station occasionally uses old movies as late-night filler) really, really sucked.Portrait Of Jennie is an interesting curiosity, but not a classic.