Film Review: Blue is the Warmest Colour (2013)

Blue is the Warmest Colour is one of the most powerful, emotional, real and erotic films I’ve seen in a long, long time’

Blue is the Warmest Colour, 2013

Directed by: Abdellatif Kechiche

Starring: Lea Seydoux, Adele Exarchopoulos

 

Blue is the Warmest Colour is one of the most powerful, emotional, real and erotic films I’ve seen in a long, long time. Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos) is a high school teenage girl who soon questions her sexuality after meeting a blue-haired girl named Emma (Lea Seydoux). Soon embarking on a multi-year relationship, we journey the highs and lows of their lives together in a three-hour film (with reportedly over 800-minutes of recorded content for the director to have chosen from).

I’ve since read that the Academy Awards are slightly put off by films of such graphic nature as this one (and I’ll come back to this point), and that is such a shame because Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos deliver two of the best performances I can recall in a film. Nearly every scene felt real and the dilemmas and celebrations were beautiful. Their argument scene later in the film, especially, is fantastically acted, and how neither of these performances garnered any recognition by the Academy Awards (the film was nominated for best foreign-language film in the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs) is beyond me.

During the opening sentence two words were combined which you don’t see too often together: real and erotic. The sex scenes are some of the most graphic I’ve ever seen, and while some LGBTQ members have criticised it for being like a male fantasy of lesbian sex rather than genuine lesbian sex, it’s still passionate and you can tell by Adele’s behaviour this is her life more so than the hetrosexual encounter she has early on. The relationship is beautiful, too, which is a credit to the writing and the actors (both of whom are straight, impressively). From their erotic highs to the saddening lows, it all feels so real, which isn’t always managed in films with a strong sexual content.

Blue is the Warmest Colour, 2

While I’m not exactly sure why blue is the warmest colour, its representation throughout the film was visually brilliant. From Emma’s hair to the strobe-lights in the clubs it’s subtly thrown in a lot of places and helps build this connection between Emma and Adele; blue is present in Emma’s hair and their locale on meeting and helps signify the desires they have for one another and towards the end Emma removes the blue from her hair as their passion dies down. It’s a relatively subtle move (with regards to not directly mentioning it), but the way the director has used hair in this film is fantastic. Adele, initially, poses an almost-scruffy appearance, with a strand of hair constantly flowing over her face with most of the rest tied up, but as her friendship with Emma begins to blossom Adele sports her hair down and neatened up, this is the first time she makes a move to kiss Emma. Adele’s hair alone could tell the story in a beautiful manner, as we later see Adele going to a club with her hair down and we are aware of what her intentions are. Adele’s character is beautifully written, not just with her hairstyle but through her demeanour and actions as she always seems to seem incomplete in her life. Initially with her first boyfriend and sooner or later with Emma, she feels incomplete and there’s always things she desires (a woman when with a man or a child when with a woman) that seem out of her reach. We also do not see or hear of her parents when we move into the future (which, by the way, are not explicitly told to the audience, it’s left up to us to judge that time has passed), which could add further motive to her seeming incomplete and seeking out male attention (perhaps her parents disowned her upon her relationship being revealed so this is her subconsciously trying to reunite her and her family) and even in work she doesn’t settle too easily, changing the year she teaches and constantly adds additional work with disabled children in her spare time. Everything she does seems to fill a void of emptiness inside her so she can feel complete.

There were a few times I would’ve preferred a little bit more information (which is insane to say in a three-hour film). While I admire the idea of progressing in time without telling us, there are some stories that just seem forgotten about. When her friends accuse Adele of being a lesbian they get into an argument and we never see the friends again; just like the two family dinners (which, from a storytelling perspective is fantastically done) and the discussions they had are never brought up again. While I assume she has lost contact with her friends and family due to her decision, it could be as simple as the friends and family are busy or as tragic in they’ve died. There’s such a lack of clarity and that had me a little frustrated at times, but it still doesn’t take anything away from what is an emotionally powerful, heart-warming, heart-breaking love story.

 

Personal: * * *     Acting: * * * * *     Writing: * * * *     Presentation: * * * * *

Overall Rating: * * * * ¼

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