Film Review: Blue Is the Warmest Color

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This year’s Palme d’Or winner, Blue Is the Warmest Color, is a fantastic character study about young love, lust and coming of age.

This French import follows a young girl, Adèle, who as a junior in high school begins to doubt she might be like all the other girls and might not be into the high school boys. Adèle tries to find love at school, but it’s a stranger on the straight, Emma, who brings Adèle along into her own. We watch the two grow as a couple, grow as individuals and ultimately grow apart.

Director Abdellatif Kechiche really lets the film breathe and while a lot of time passes over the course of the film he lets the characters develop in extended sequences. The film’s story is slowly doled out, throw away lines come to fruition in later scenes, but it’s a fairly straightforward tale of love at its heart. For a three hour film, barely a beat is wasted. You will find yourself falling right in line with Adèle on her journey, getting caught up in the conversations with Emma, ready to stand up for her against her turncoat friends and feeling ashamed for her that she can’t come out to the world. Taking place in the late 1990’s allows Adèle’s closeted nature to bring some added tension to the relationship and Kechiche does a great job at showing that divide between her worlds. The one misstep the film takes comes very late in the game, it takes place in a cafe, and while it doesn’t ruin the film it just feels so out of place and, ultimately, unnecessary. We don’t need this scene to show Adèle’s passion for Emma and any story that is introduced in the scene is quickly understood in the films final segment. It doesn’t ruin the picture, but it is clearly the one mark against an otherwise superb film.

The two leading ladies of the film are both quite remarkable to watch over the film’s run time as they bare all both physically and emotionally for the picture. Adèle Exarchopoulos is remarkable as the film’s lead, Adèle, as she runs a gauntlet of emotions. Exarchopoulos can be strong, confused, vulnerable, sexy, passionate, scorned, she literally does it all. Léa Seydoux isn’t asked to do as much as Adèle, but as Emma she is appropriately mysterious and fits the artsy demeanor the character asks for. Seydoux shines in her big moments though, her anger is crushing, and both ladies don’t hold back in the slightest when it comes to the much talked about sex scenes. The passion they bring to their relationship is felt in every element of their performances and their chemistry is palpable through the screen, it is one of the most authentic romances of the year.

Blue Is the Warmest Color is a deserving Palme d’Or winner and one of the best romances I’ve seen in some time. Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux both deliver fantastic performances, creating chemistry nearly unmatched on the screen this year, and hopefully they are remembered for their emotional connection beyond just their physical one. Blue Is the Warmest Color is not to be missed.

Blue Is the Warmest Color is an A-

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