Suzanne L., Here….
There is a reason Blue Is the Warmest Color has already received so much attention. Much of this attention has been focused on the controversies surrounding the film – explicit sex scenes and the difficulty the actors had during the filming. In spite of these controversies, director Abdellatif Kechiche has created a gripping film that reminds us of how consuming, wonderful, and terrible love can be.
The film focuses on Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), a high school student going about her life as any teenager might. School, life plans, friends, and boyfriends all surround Adèle as the audience gets to know the character and how extraordinarily normal her life is. But things change one day when crossing the street and she catches sight of Emma (Léa Seydoux), a blue-haired lesbian walking with her then girlfriend. At once, Adèle is taken with this woman. As she continues through her normal life, the visions of Emma begin to consume Adèle, and she soon begins searching for the woman she saw, eventually finding her at a lesbian bar.
From the moment they actually meet, the chemistry takes hold, and the two begin seeing each other. At first the meetings are restrained – two people dipping their toe in the water to make sure it’s okay to jump in. When they do decide to become more than friends, they begin a relationship so intense and engrossing, you feel like you are going through it. They face many issues – Adèle’s inability to admit to friends and family that she is in a relationship with a woman, Emma’s inability to understand that Adèle’s career plans are enough for her, and other couple complaints that will remind you of all of those past relationships that didn’t exactly workout. And if you don’t see the writing on the wall, I’m going to spoil it for you…they don’t make it. The problems are too much to overcome, and once it is over Adèle is empty and cannot move on from the life she had with Emma.
Kechiche’s movie is at first uncomfortably intimate. He will not let Adèle out of sight. Every emotion and reaction is witnessed in close up – there was not a moment when the actress was able to phone it in. But once we become used to his invasion of this character’s life, we become addicted to being part of her life. So, when the very explicit sex scenes occur, they are still surprising, but also necessary. Many have likened the scenes to porn, but they actually serve a purpose that goes beyond titillation. Without them, the intense intimacy that you have developed with the characters would be broken, and you would not be able to understand just how passionate their attraction and love is. From the moment they become intimate, they are completely consumed, and you have to feel that to feel the pain when it ends.
Of course, the intimate camera angles and passionate love scenes would have meant nothing without the acting. Exarchopoulous goes from endearing to luscious to despondent, and what comes through is not whether or not she could accept being a lesbian – it’s not really an issue. It’s more that she is so fiercely in love with Emma. Seydoux is wonderful as the older woman who is drawn to this young, sweet woman who adores her. And as things fall apart, Seydoux’s once relaxed French becomes a staccato weapon as she lashes out at Adèle.
This movie is three hours of falling in love and falling apart, and every moment and scene is worth the time. This gripping movie is likely to become one of my favorite love stories.
– Suzanne Loranc