Film Review – Blue Is The Warmest Color
Blue Is The Warmest Color
Blue Is The Warmest Color is finally releasing in the U.S., after winning the top prize in May at the Cannes Film Festival: the Palme d’Or. Director/co-screenwriter Abdellatif Kechiche puts Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos into a film about finding your soulmate, yourself, love, and all the complications.
Adèle (Exarchopoulos) is in high school, studying literature. After a day of studying a portion of a French novel dealing with love and women and having love pass you by in an instant, Adèle passes a couple on the street. One of the pair is a woman with blue hair. The moment strikes Adèle immediately. They exchange glances, but she cannot get that blue-haired woman out of her head. Adèle’s exploration into her sexuality and who she is begins that night, when she’s taken aback by her dream of that woman. Thoughts start reeling in Adèle’s mind about who she is. She takes chances with a classmate, trying to steal a kiss in the bathroom, only to have it backfire on her.
Adèle is lost. Accompanying one of her friends out to a male gay bar, she follows a group of girls to a lesbian bar. Searching and searching for this woman who will not leave her mind, Adèle spots her. Her name is Emma (Seydoux), and she is in college for painting. A friendship develops that becomes so much more.
There are so many coming-of-age films out there, but Blue Is The Warmest Color has to be one of the only relatively mainstream ones about a girl finding love in a lesbian relationship. The film is honest and raw. When Emma shows up at Adèle’s school and they walk away together, it stirs up some hate towards Adèle for hanging out with a “dyke,” and the name-calling and threats begin. Adèle being who she is, it rolls off her back, and does not deter her from falling in love—Adèle is enraptured with Emma, almost to the point of obsession. She lives and breathes Emma with an unhealthy dependence on attention from her. It almost becomes dangerous. Jealousy fuels the fire, leading to some unwise and childish behaviors from Adèle.
The film has a runtime of three hours, but it certainly did not feel like it. While every scene is not necessary for the main storyline, each fleshes out the character of Adèle fully. We know her insecurities, her dislikes, her dreams, and her goals. Both Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos are phenomenal, though most of the screen time is devoted to Exarchopoulos. She is mesmerizing. Her eyes, her lips, and especially her hair captivated me. It takes a lot as an actress to give everything you have to a character, and I believe that both actresses did just that. It is on their faces.
No review of this film would be complete without mentioning the sex scenes. Blue Is The Warmest Color is rated NC-17 for a reason. These are graphic, long sex scenes, especially the first one. They leave nothing to the imagination; the actresses go for it entirely. I read that they used prosthetic genitalia, and if so, those are really good prostheses. I would recommend not seeing this with your parents or with a conservative friend. I guarantee you will see some walk-outs in the theater. Those scenes are too long, and I wonder what the motive was. It certainly does not make the viewers think the characters are more in love. Abdellatif Kechiche may have wanted to push the boundaries, but it is unnecessary. Even if this were a straight couple having graphic sex for a long period of time, I would still question the director’s motives.
Aside from the sex scenes, Blue Is The Warmest Color is a complete love story with a beginning, middle, and end. It is also about self-discovery, growing up, and regret. It is a creative take on the love story that takes risks and aims to be a topic of conversation afterward.