Blue Is the Warmest Colour (2013, aka La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2)

Blue Is the Warmest Colour (aka La Vie d'Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2)


A high school student, Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos, Down by Love), is going through the expected growing pains. Everything changes for Adèle when she meets a free-spirited artist, Emma (Léa Seydoux, Robin Hood). The young women develop a romantic relationship, but as time passes, Adèle and Emma are unable to cope with their deep-rooted differences.

Reaction & Thoughts:

Blue Is the Warmest Colour, based on the French graphic novel of the same name by Julie Maroh, has received a great deal of attention because of its explicit sexuality, though in my humble opinion, it is the film’s least interesting element. I dare to say that these candid sex scenes distract from the film’s strengths, which are plentiful.

Blue Is the Warmest Colour (aka La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2) is essentially a journey of self-discovery, which shows, tenderly and honestly, the pitfalls of young love. Ostensibly about gay love, the movie does a fantastic job when it chooses to concentrate on teen angst and other mysteries of life.

The flaws were created largely by director Abdellatif Kechiche, who is a bit too obsessed with lesbian lovemaking. I’m no prude. I just think these longish sequences do more harm than good. I think the film is at its best when exploring the day-to-day problems of a romantic couple. I particularly liked how Kechiche calls attention to the minor/major things that draw people together/apart. The sex scenes feel mechanical, thus hampering the film’s distinctively unaffected quality.

Blue Is the Warmest Colour is also notable as a great vehicle for a pair of unforgettable performances — it’s what great acting is all about.

Seydoux and Exarchopoulos are superb. While I tend to stay away from so-called naturalistic work (Hitchcock was right, “reality is dull”), I was deeply moved by the power of these two brilliant performances. Sofian El Fani’s camerawork is impressive too.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Blue Is the Warmest Colour premiered at the Cannes Film Festival and went on to win the prestigious Palme d’Or, the very first film to have the trophy awarded to both the director and the lead actors. Warts and all, it’s a really great movie, the kind of film that stays with you long after the end credits roll. Color, 179 minutes, Rated NC-17.

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