Blue Is The Warmest Color (2013) Review

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Blue Is The Warmest Color (2013) (French: La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2 – The Life of Adèle)

Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche

Based on Blue Is the Warmest Color by Julie Maroh

Starring:
Léa Seydoux
Adèle Exarchopoulos

Running time: 179 minutes

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
Blue Is the Warmest Colour is a 2013 French romantic coming-of-age drama that revolves around Adèle (Exarchopoulos), a French teenager who discovers desire and freedom when a blue-haired aspiring painter (Seydoux) enters her life.

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My Opinion:

I watched this movie ages ago but I really hate leaving things unfinished so I’m still trying to catch up on reviewing the movies I watched in 2014. It’s harder with some movies than with others to remember them well at this point but I remember Blue Is the Warmest Color very well. I thought it was a really good look at a relationship and all the highs & lows in any relationship, regardless of sexual preference. The characters felt “real” thanks to the excellent performances from the two lead actresses. YES – I will admit that I partly watched it because of all the controversy over the sex scenes as I wanted to see what people were freaking out about. I can see why people were freaking out – the sex scenes were unnecessarily gratuitous. I’ll talk more about that topic in a bit…

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The two actresses, Léa Seydoux & Adèle Exarchopoulos, were fantastic & made their characters fully believable. Exarchopoulos was especially good as Adèle, who was the main focus of the film as it explored her coming of age with older, blue-haired Emma and also with her starting a career as a teacher and just trying to find her place in the world. My one complaint (other than the sex being too graphic) would be the fact that the character of Adèle is a freaking DRAG! She’s a very beautiful girl so it’s not hard to understand there being a physical attraction to her but she’s soooo depressed throughout the entire film that it’s hard to believe the far more interesting & creative Emma would want to spend so much time with her. However, their attraction is very much a physical one and they play this attraction very well. It’s a very animalistic, ripping-clothes-off, throwing-each-other-up-against-the-wall kind of attraction (I don’t remember if they threw each other up against the wall but you know what I mean). Which is awesome! We all want a bit of that in life (um, right?!). So let’s talk about the sex (baby! Let’s talk about you & me! Let’s talk about all the good things & the bad things that may be! Let’s talk about sex!). FYI to you kids – that’s Salt-n-Pepa.

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Wow! This is indeed a great, arty little French movie with wonderful performances but I did feel like I was watching full-on porn a few times. First of all, I’ll say that I don’t care in the slightest whether people choose to have sex with the those of the opposite sex or not. Or if they choose to have sex with both sexes! Who cares?? I honestly don’t understand why it’s even an issue at all. Like most females, though, I’m not exactly a fan of porn. Well, I’m sure some women are but I like my movie sex scenes to be all romantic. “Movie sex” is awesome! It’s all lit candles, cuddling, passionate kissing, and curtains billowing in the wind. I don’t want to watch real sex! Real sex is gross & awkward. Ew. Actually, “curtains billowing in the wind” sounds kind of dirty to me… Hehe! *giggle* *blush* Sorry – I’m very immature about sex scenes. You should have seen me watching Shame.

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Anyway, the sex in Blue Is The Warmest Color is gritty & realistic and there are no lit candles (from what I remember). Now, I think I read somewhere that the girls were wearing “fake vaginas”? Feel free to tell me if I’m wrong because I’m not about to go Googling that like some kind of weirdo. Either way, real or not, you see what appears to be vaginas & you see what appears to be real sex with those vaginas. I know it caused a lot of controversy but it was still released whereas I doubt that a mainstream film that showed sex in such graphic detail between a man & a woman or between two men would even be released. I think it’s well known that this movie was made by a straight male director and it does very much feel like the graphic sex scenes were done with straight male viewers in mind. What’s the point of that?? Take those scenes out & you couldn’t have paid a man to watch a love story between two women. I’m not saying I was offended by those scenes, exactly. Hey, I guess it’s good that the sex seemed just as real as the relationship did but I just didn’t find the graphic nature very necessary. The two actresses had great chemistry anyway and, quite frankly, there were a few fully-clothed scenes that felt more passionate & intimate than the sex scenes (when Adèle first spots Emma, when they first meet, and a restaurant scene toward the end). It was the fully-clothed scenes that sold the relationship to me more than anything. Okay, these girls were very passionate about each other but their acting was good enough that we didn’t need to watch them banging away at each other for ages in order to buy into their desire for one another. I don’t know… I’m not offended by the scenes themselves so much as by the fact that they felt thrown in there just to be controversial & gain more attention for the film.

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Oh! I said I had no other complaints about the film, really, but two more things did annoy me about Adèle besides the fact that she seemed like a depressing bore: the way she played with her messy, stringy hair constantly & the way she ate. The eating scenes were hilarious, though, as they were obviously meant to represent oral sex (Emma introduces Adèle to oysters & teaches her how to eat them). Haha – very clever, Mr Director. We get it, dude. We’re not idiots. But I was really glad to be done with watching Adèle eating things by the time this movie was over.

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Summary:

Blue Is The Warmest Color is a very realistic portrayal of a passionate relationship between a young woman and her first female partner. I don’t think it should matter that they’re of the same sex – a love story is a love story and this one works very well thanks to fantastic performances from the two leads. I felt Adèle’s yearning & heartache just as much as Heath Ledger’s in Brokeback Mountain and Lloyd Dobler’s in Say Anything – same sex relationship or not, we all have the same feelings. The sex was too graphic (in my eyes) and felt like it was made just to be controversial but it was a lovely film that I didn’t feel needed to go so overboard on the sex. Between that and kind of finding the character of Adèle a bit depressing & irritating (though Exarchopoulos did a brilliant job playing her), I’d probably give this a slightly lower rating than if I had watched a love story where I liked the characters a little bit more. They did feel very real, though, and you want nothing more at the end of this film than for both of them to be happy. Especially Adèle. You’re young & gorgeous, girl – cheer the hell up!

My Rating: 7.5/10

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30 thoughts on “Blue Is The Warmest Color (2013) Review

  1. haven’t seen this and I really have little desire to. I’m not a fan of non-English language movies and the thought of sitting 3 hours reading subtitles, just doesn’t appeal to me. I’m not necessarily against sex in a movie per se (if it helps the story), but from what I’ve heard abt this one (and u concur), it’s just too much here and it’s done to be controversial, not to move the story along.

    Great review as always Mutant!

  2. I thought this film was fantastic. Really bought into the characters and the performances, one of my favourites from 2013. I do get your point about the sex scenes though, the camera probably lingered longer than it needed to one more than one occasion. Great review!

    Adam.

    • Thanks! 🙂 Yep – totally agree about buying into the characters. These girls did a great job making the characters totally believable. I did like the film a lot because of that. 🙂

  3. Great write-up! This was one of my top films of 2013 but I agree it would have worked just as well without the sex scenes (and would have been about 30 minutes shorter too! 🙂 )!

    ” I doubt that a mainstream film that showed sex in such graphic detail between a man & a woman or between two men would even be released. ”

    I take it you’ve not seen Lars von Trier’s Nymphomaniac or Alain Guiraudie’s Stranger By The Lake then? 😉 😛

  4. This was based on a comic book and the story used in that was better and shorter too. I liked the actors and I never found the sex to be erotic like it is in most pornos. Not that I would know anything about that. Im just guessing. It was watching a strory about a young girl maturing into adulthood more then anything else. Great job

    • Thanks! The comic book sounds interesting. I enjoyed this movie but it could’ve done with being a bit shorter – it did seem overlong. Would have been a lot shorter without the sex scenes, I guess! Lol. The actresses did a fantastic job, though. Glad I finally got around to watching it. 🙂

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