Monday, December 9, 2013

Movie with Abe: Blue is the Warmest Color

Blue is the Warmest Color
Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche
Released October 25, 2013

An NC-17 rating pretty much assures that one of the main things people will think about and talk about when they see it (if they even do) is the rating itself. This three-hour French drama opened in France just a few weeks before it did in the United States, and, aside from its length and the fact that it does not qualify as France’s Best Foreign Film submission to the Oscars, the sexual content that earned its badge of honor is probably its most notable attribute. Yet most also agree, rightfully so, that this is a mesmerizing, staggering depiction of love and romance featuring two truly exceptional performances.

“Blue is the Warmest Color,” originally titled “La Vie D’Adèle,” begins with high school student Adèle, who lives a relatively normal and unexciting life. The moment she first sees the blue-haired Emma, however, everything changes. Adèle ends her budding romance with a boy at school, and though she is taunted and humiliated when her classmates suspect that she is a lesbian, the relationship she starts with Emma is well worth it. The two demonstrate an immense passion for each other, which is shown through a very extended and graphic sequence that is sure to intimidate many audience members.

Three hours is a long time, and as a result this film is able to cover substantial territory, showcasing the romance between its two protagonists and various aspects of both their lives as they begin to meld together. Adèle visits Emma’s parents, who readily accept her for who she is and the role she has in Emma’s life, while a spaghetti dinner at Adèle’s parents’ home involves questions about the fake boyfriend Adèle has told them Emma has to cover up the true nature of their relationship. The complexities of their attitudes towards society and acceptance are great, and they’re embedded and fleshed out over the course of this film.

The two actresses at the center of “Blue is the Warmest Color” are nothing short of phenomenal. Three-time César Award nominee Léa Seydoux is instantly alluring as Emma, not quick to reveal much of herself but extraordinarily capable of carrying and commanding a conversation. As the film progresses, it’s marvelous to see Emma open up completely thanks to Seydoux’s brutally honest turn. Adèle Exarchopoulos is a revelation, perfecting every tic and mannerism to deliver a wonderfully transparent performance. Together, the two are incredible, and they create a devastatingly compelling image of what the intersection of love and passion looks like in director Abdellatif Kechiche’s excellent film.


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