“Blue is the Warmest Color” (2013) – Adèle Exarchopoulos gives one of the very best performances of 2013 as a French high school student discovering her sexuality and graduating into womanhood through a passionate love affair with an early 20-something collegiate co-ed with blue hair (Lea Seydoux).
Director/co-writer Abdellatif Kechiche winds through Adèle (Exarchopoulos) and Emma’s (Seydoux) relationship for three hours of runtime, and intricately captures subtle – and not so fine – nuances which show love as extraordinary and also traumatic. Whether Adèle eats pasta at the table or lies fast asleep in bed, Kechiche spends a – seemingly – excessive amount of time focusing his camera on Exarchopoulos’ face. He willingly anchors the audience to Adèle’s and her highly-charged, racy, and engaging coming-of-age story. Our lead volleys between struggling with her feelings and accepting them, but she undoubtedly feels the former early on.
“Blue is the Warmest Color” isn’t a formal, traditional narrative. Not only is it an LGBTQ love story, but the 179-minute runtime is filled with personal visuals, and the lengthy, day-to-day stretches pit the pair engaging in philosophical conversations, making dinner, enjoying time with friends, and lounging around. They settle into a relationship through slice-of-life storytelling, although the film carries an overall arc.
Much of the movie’s buzz is tied to the two very torrid bedroom scenes, and with good reasons. “Blue” is correctly rated NC-17. One love-making encounter, in particular, runs for about eight minutes but isn’t accompanied by flowery dissolves or ornate background music. Kechiche films the characters in fervor, and emotions appear raw and intense.
Obviously, couples do not spend most of their time in the bedroom, and neither do Adèle and Emma.
Exarchopoulos and Seydoux effectively showcase this young couple’s connection throughout everyday happenings, and as we walk away, we’ll remember that their bond is complete, beautiful, and rare.
⭐⭐⭐ 1/2 out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Starring: Adèle Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux
Directed by: Abdellatif Kechiche
Runtime: 179 minutes