Blue is the Warmest Color Collage

The first of my new review series.

I generally feel unfulfilled by the majority of American and mainstream film, but there are so many amazing movies made every year that get buried beneath the blockbusters. Well, I’m putting a stop to that. In this series, I will explore foreign film, indie film, and film festival winners. These types of films are a huge influence on my writing and I want to share them with you.

My first review is for Blue is the Warmest Color (La vie d’Adèle), Palm d’Or winner in 2013.

Synopsis

Language: French with English subtitles. 2 parts, total 3 hours 7 minutes.

Adele is an innocent middle class girl. She likes to eat spaghetti and watch TV with her pleasant, ordinary family. While in high school, Adele realizes something is missing from her life. She discovers she’s attracted to women and is not really sure what to do about it.

One night she meets a blue-haired woman named Emma in a bar. They have an instant rapport and Emma begins waiting for Adele after school. They talk philosophy and art. Emma is an artist and sketches Adele.

Adele’s new friendship with the blue-haired girl is obviously more than plutonic. Her school friends ostracize her. Adele distances herself more and more from her old life, embracing a new one with Emma. The two grow closer and Adele becomes Emma’s muse. They enter into a steady relationship and move in together, but Adele never feels like she fits in with Emma’s intellectual and artsy friends. She’s a just an elementary school teacher and is happy simply being Emma’s partner.

Emma’s affections wane. She wants Adele to become more of her own person. Physical intimacy becomes infrequent and Adele becomes insecure. She acts out by sleeping with a man she works with. The couple’s bond is destroyed, and Emma throws Adele out of the house. From there Adele is lost and struggles to get Emma back. She defined herself by being Emma’s lover and loses her identity and self-worth.

From there, Adele floats through life in a detached, depressed state. A few years later, She and Emma meet and make peace with one another, but Emma has a partner and there is no hope for reconciliation. This doesn’t stop Adele from trying to win her, but even though Emma still has powerful feelings for Adele, it’s too late.

In the end, Emma’s painting career takes off and Adele attends her gallery showing. She see’s Emma happy with her new partner. This is the moment Adele finally accepts the fact that she and Emma will never be together again and with that acceptance, Adele permits herself to move on and become her own woman.

Review

Blue is the Warmest Color is a sweet and turbulent coming-of-age romance in which the protagonist discovers that in order to really love someone, you must know and love yourself.

Both Adèle Exarchopoulos (Adele) Léa Seydoux (Emma) executed mindblowing performances, and I’ll be looking for more movies featuring them. Lea Seydoux I found particularly captivating as Emma, and Adele Exarchopoulos was the perfect combination of awkward, charming, and vulnerable.

The director, Abdellatif Kechiche, is a genius. You could tell he had a distinct vision for this movie. He allowed the actresses to be free and natural. He kept them raw and very human. I would sometimes forget I was watching a movie and not just peeking at someone’s life through their windows.

You could tell Kechiche was in love with Adele’s mouth, and as adorable as it was, he could’ve focused on it a little less. The sex scenes were passionate, but extremely graphic and drawn out. There is such a thing as too much ass-slapping lesbian sex, and after the release of physical longing between the characters, I wanted to get back to the movie to see where their relationship would go next. I think if Kechiche cut the sex scenes in half they would’ve made more of an impact. However, I’m sure there are many who would disagree.

Even though this is what would be considered a LGBT movie, I felt the homosexual was element secondary to the main themes. This was a pure love story that shows us how relationships, even the ones that don’t work out, help us grow and become part of our being.

Trailer

Rating

***** 5 stars

NOT recommended for…

…viewers who are not prepared to make the investment of time and attention into a complex love story in a foreign language. This movie is especially not for anyone who is squeamish about full-on lesbian sex or who doesn’t enjoy reading subtitles for long periods of time.

Recommended for…

…film-lovers who gobble up three hour-long character-driven love stories in French. I am so one of those people! If you are too, turn off your devices, lock the door, grab some junk food, and indulge in Blue is the Warmest Color.

Photo credit

Rotten Tomatoes

The Blog of Big Ideas

Indiewire

Have you seen this movie?

How did you like it?

What other indie/foreign films would you recommend to me and my readers?

Thank you for visiting.

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"Anyone who has ever secretly longed for the significant other of a close friend will immediately identify with this well-written story set in the South of France. The dialog is sharp and the characters believable. The writing is both funny and poignant."
–Max Tomlinson, author of 
The Cain File

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