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Blue Is The Warmest Color (2013)

tomatometer

90

Average Rating: 8.2/10
Reviews Counted: 157
Fresh: 142 | Rotten: 15

Raw, honest, powerfully acted, and deliciously intense, Blue Is the Warmest Color offers some of modern cinema's most elegantly composed, emotionally absorbing drama.

94

Average Rating: 8.6/10
Critic Reviews: 35
Fresh: 33 | Rotten: 2

Raw, honest, powerfully acted, and deliciously intense, Blue Is the Warmest Color offers some of modern cinema's most elegantly composed, emotionally absorbing drama.

audience

86

liked it
Average Rating: 4.1/5
User Ratings: 18,613

My Rating

Movie Info

BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR centers on a 15-year-old girl named Adèle (Exarchopoulos) who is climbing to adulthood and dreams of experiencing her first love. A handsome male classmate falls for her hard, but an unsettling erotic reverie upsets the romance before it begins. Adèle imagines that the mysterious, blue-haired girl she encountered in the street slips into her bed and possesses her with an overwhelming pleasure. That blue-haired girl is a confident older art student named Emma (Seydoux),

NC-17,

Drama

Julie Maroh, Abdel Kechiche

Feb 25, 2013

$46.0M

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All Critics (158) | Top Critics (35) | Fresh (142) | Rotten (15) | DVD (1)

Blue is the Warmest Colour is too exceptional a film to be defined by its controversy.

November 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
Top Critic IconTop Critic

An astounding, complex film about the ecstasy, the danger and the beauty of love.

November 8, 2013 Full Review Source: Detroit News
Detroit News
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One of the year's best films.

November 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A love story so erotically charged that it short circuits our higher functions.

November 7, 2013 Full Review Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Forget the controversy and see Blue is the Warmest Color for what it truly is: a warm and compassionate ode to the vagaries of the heart.

November 7, 2013 Full Review Source: Miami Herald
Miami Herald
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The more wondrous things about "Blue Is the Warmest Color" include its emotional honesty, precision, abandon and need.

November 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Newsday
Newsday
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A fierce and honest drama about a French teenager (Adele Exarchopoulos, just fantastic) discovering, exploring and understanding her own sexuality.

April 18, 2014 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

Kechiche captures a staggeringly intense amount of orality: kissing, smoking, talking, spitting, ----ing and eating, oh, such eating. As his game gamine, Adèle Exarchopoulos is sexual, and sexualized, but her embodiment of oral desire is ravishing.

April 4, 2014 Full Review Source: Newcity
Newcity

We have Kechiche to thank for this wonderful movie that celebrates gay love (and sex) in all its messiness and truth.

March 27, 2014 Full Review Source: Thompson on Hollywood
Thompson on Hollywood

It is not cheerful, hopeful, or profound: it just is.

February 21, 2014 Full Review Source: Trespass
Trespass

The film would have benefited from more editing, but it is nevertheless a compelling, troubling and touching study of adolescence and same-sex relationships.

February 21, 2014 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
FILMINK (Australia)

Something must be said for a film that's three hours long and remains this consistently engaging.

February 20, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Mezzanine
Movie Mezzanine

Viewed independently of the argy-bargy surrounding it, Blue Is the Warmest Colour is simply a remarkable work of cinema.

February 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Herald Sun (Australia)
Herald Sun (Australia)

Scene after scene brings truthfulness and insight into the at times difficult relationship.

February 18, 2014 Full Review Source: At the Movies (Australia)
At the Movies (Australia)

There have been many films about the confusion of adolescence and the difficulty of coming out...but he makes the material fresh by understating the subtext while concentrating on the immediate experiences of the characters.

February 17, 2014 Full Review Source: culturevulture.net
culturevulture.net

A tender, at times devastating portrayal of the lifespan of a relationship, one that's as convincing and intimate as any you've ever seen on screen.

February 16, 2014 Full Review Source: Moviedex
Moviedex

Rather than lead us by the hand to a predetermined destination, this is a film that asks us to stand back and observe.

February 14, 2014 Full Review Source: ABC Radio Brisbane
ABC Radio Brisbane

Blue is the Warmest Colour is actually a far more thoughtful film about sex, mature relationships and modern love than its soft-core trappings and avant-garde buzz might otherwise suggest.

February 14, 2014 Full Review Source: 3AW

Once you begin to feel its rhythms, the film's mastery is undeniable.

February 13, 2014 Full Review Source: Flicks.co.nz
Flicks.co.nz

A riveting coming of age story that should have universal applicability.

February 12, 2014 Full Review Source: Impulse Gamer
Impulse Gamer

Its biggest charm lies in the understated yet giving and uninhibited performances of its leads ... but not all three hours' worth of scenes deserve to be there.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Concrete Playground
Concrete Playground

Cannes winner Blue is the Warmest Colour details a relationship forming and curdling in graphic fashion (much like in the way the director's own relationship to his stars has curdled so publicly in the months since its big win).

February 9, 2014 Full Review Source: Quickflix
Quickflix

It may be overshadowed by its controversial and graphic sex scenes, but the passion runs far beyond the sheets in this explosive and revelation-filled coming of age story that explores sexuality, desire, love and commitment

February 6, 2014 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

So here's another male hetero critic chiming in on the greatness of Blue Is the Warmest Color. I will at least keep it brief.

February 4, 2014 Full Review Source: SF Weekly
SF Weekly

Come to Blue Is the Warmest Colour without preconceptions, and it's hard not to be overwhelmed by the intensity of the drama and the integrity of the performances.

January 19, 2014 Full Review Source: Movie Talk
Movie Talk

The sex is specific; everything else the two young women do is utterly general. Hearts will break but life goes on.

January 9, 2014 Full Review Source: East Bay Express
East Bay Express

Audience Reviews for Blue Is The Warmest Color

Blue is the Warmest Color is so much more than cheap exploitation. At 3 hours long, it is shot predominantly in close ups, with long passages of dialogue, and is about so many things: coming of age, class differences, sexism, art, food, and of course, same sex relationships. We'll never know if its Palme D'Or win was more political than personal, but this is too beautiful and wonderful a film to be defined by its controversy alone.
April 14, 2014
MovieGeek13

Super Reviewer

Emma: I have infinite tenderness for you, and I will my whole life...

Blue Is the Warmest Color is as amazing a film experience, as I have seen in a long time. As far as the controversy that surrounds the film goes, it really doesn't matter. We're at such a point, where you'd think sexual material, no matter how graphic is no big deal. Obviously there's a lot of people who feel differently, but oh well. This is probably the best film I've ever seen, when it comes down to showing honest emotion, both joy and sadness. A lot of that has to do with the remarkable performance from Adele Exarchopoulos. 

Blue Is the Warmest Color follows Adele, a bright and beautiful high school student. Her friends are pressuring her to lose her virginity to a senior who has his eyes on her. On her way to a date with him, she sees a blue haired girl and it's love at first sight, only she doesn't really know it yet. The blue haired girl ends up making an appearance in her dreams that night though. She continues to see the boy and does lose her virginity to him, but that only makes her realize that she hasn't truly found what she needs. She ends up running into the blue haired girl again, at a lesbian bar, and learns that her name is Emma. They hit it off and soon start a passionate love affair. From there, it follows their relationship for about the next decade.

This is a long movie, around three hours, but it sure doesn't feel it. The dialogue is beautiful, as is the camera work, and the movie as a whole. It's about connection, love, and finding ones sexual identity. The beauty of the film is in the relationship between Adele and Emma, and both actresses give phenomenal, honest, and emotional performances. Lea Seydoux, who plays Emma, is tremendous, but like I said before this movie really belongs to Adele. 

Blue Is the Warmest Color certainly isn't a movie for the close minded or for moviegoers that are turned off by graphic sexual scenes and dialogue. For anyone who can put that aside and look at the movie for what it truly is, a masterpiece and one of the best films about love ever; it's quite the experience. It's a movie that won't leave me. Simply amazing.
March 2, 2014
blkbomb
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

On January and March 2013, massive protests against same-sex marriage took the streets of Paris and made news worldwide. On May 18, same-sex marriage was legalized in France, what lead to another big manifestation, on May 26, with thousands of people calling for the withdrawal of the approved law. On that same day, a lesbian film won the Palme d'Or at the 66th Cannes Festival.

There's no doubt that Blue is the warmest color (La Vie d'Adèle - Chapitres 1 et 2) was controversial even before its première. If at that time I already thought that the Palme d'Or was a political choice - Cannes Jury President Steven Spielberg denies it, of course - after watching Abdellatif Kechiche's film, no doubts are left. The award was followed and celebrated mainly on social networks, with the film being praised by thousands of people who came to watch it only months later. Groupthink, something common within the public, has become also a constant feature within the critic, pretty much unanimous in their praise. It's known that film festivals are not parameter of quality anymore, but it's still expected that a film will be acclaimed for something else besides ideological and political views and long shots of graphic sex and nudity, which, by the way, reminds me of Shame, although Steve McQueen's film has a more interesting background. We must also mention Stranger by the Lake - winner of Cannes 2013's Queer Palm Award and Un Certain Regard (Best Director)-, a film really worthy of polemics, however, innovative and thought-provoking.

Based on Julie Maroh's comic book Le Bleu Est Une Couleur Chaud (Blue is a warm color), that covers the (around) fourteen years since Clémentine (Adèle) and Emma meet until the melodramatic final shot, Blue is the warmest color is more like a cheap soap opera praised as masterpiece. While Maroh's comic book focus on coming out, prejudice, doubts and fears, Kechiche insists that he had nothing militant to say about it and was only telling the story of a couple. Maroh actually echoes him saying that none of them had a militantly activist intent, but if you make a book hoping to no longer be insulted, rejected, beaten up, raped and murdered for being gay, you do have a militantly activist intent. Perhaps that was not the film's aim, however, if an absurd but turning point scene from the book was not included, Adèle's friends' homophobic reaction, the gay pride scene and the "lesbian sex for Dummies" could've also been removed. If such scenes were kept is because homosexuality, albeit quite in vogue, is obviously still not widely accepted, with no place, therefore, to the simplistic speech of "a couple like any other." Or maybe, and I bet all my chips there, given the media coverage received by the film, it's just one more "lesbian chic product", because if homosexuality is portrayed in a natural way somehow, the sex scenes are so laughable that one is sure Kechiche made his homework: lots and lots of lesbian porn and corny romance (there were even candles in the room. candles!). It's true that Maroh narrates Clémentine and Emma's first time in five pages, and that's her fault if Kechiche's "imagination" goes too far - "I want to do everything with you. Everything that is possible to be done in a life time", says Clémentine to Emma - but if in the comic book the scenes are exciting, in the film is the opposite.

"You don't find it a pain a director explaining it all? When a director makes me over-analyze a scene or a character, showing everything, it closes off my imagination. I don't like it".

Sometimes tender (Donna Deitch's Desert Hearts), sometimes hot (Zero Chou's Spider Lilies), sometimes "explicit" (Chantal Akerman's Je tu il elle), cinema's history is filled with beautiful scenes of love and sex between two women. We could claim that a woman understand it better, but let's not forget the terrible The Kids Are All Right, directed by Lisa Cholodenko, and the delicate 80 egunean, written and directed by José Mari Goenaga and Jon Garaño, not to mention Lukas Moodysson's Fucking Åmål, one of the best lesbian coming-of-age films, Lianna, Egymásra nézve, Bound and so many other lesbian films directed by men. Much has been said about Kechiche's fetishism as something exclusively male, but if today Blue is the Warmest Color is the apple of the eyes and the enfant terrible of the time, three years ago was The Kids Are All Right the one raising warm (for) and exalted (against) criticism. Apparently so distant - a lesbian and a straight director - what brings these two films together is, indeed, the male gaze: a heterosexual and sexist view of the feminine. This discussion, by the way, reminds me of John Cassavetes's explanation for the lack of sex scenes in his work, which films can be considered rather sexist by some people:

"I'm concerned about the depiction of women on the screen. It has gotten worse than ever. It's related to their being either high- or low-class concubines, and the only question is when or where they will go to bed and with whom and how many. (...) As for showing the sexual act in film, I think that's a lot of balls, phony, exploitative and commercial. It's cheap voyeurism and I think there's too damned much of it now anyway. (...) Playboy magazine, tit films and cocktail-party diatribes have not only affected our society but have shaped it with such discontent regarding men and women that sex is no longer in itself sufficient without violence, death or neurosis as stimulants. I don't think there's aznything morally wrong with seeing a nude body on the screen, but it offends me to watch people kiss without genuine love or passion. Sex on the screen bores me."

It's known that Maroh and so many other lesbians didn't like Kechiche's "aesthetic approaches", but for me, not only the "so-called lesbian sex" was "brutal and surgical display, exuberant and cold which turned into porn", but the whole picture. It's not Adèle that is voracious, Kechiche is; voracious, methodical and perfectionist. I can even imagine him shouting: "Adèle, lift that ass up!" Or, who knows, maybe measuring the lens'angle of view (i.e. Kechiche's thing for rear ends). As perfectly said by sociologist and gay activist Marie-Hélène Bourcier, the girl number of straight porn movies, where two girls go down on each other while waiting for a man to join them, is almost more honest, once the device is clear: a true voyeur shoots for guys. In Kechiche's case, she says , even if his thing is not wide open pussy (very pornovulgus), but nasal mucus and Adèle's gaping mouth, the voyeur device is present through its "cock camera" eager to close-ups. Indeed, his (oni) presence is so palpable that sometimes we have the impression of watching a ménage à trois not only sexual but also "intellectual", with Kechiche always standing out and offering the real pleasure: there are many artistic and literary references - Sartre , Francis Ponge , Choderlos de Laclos and Marivaux , whose novel La Vie de Marianne is a reference to the film's French title - however, Adèle's has a shallow depth (deeply shallow would be the right expression, but the photography technique shallow depth of field that consists in isolating "part of the shot which is nicely in focus while throwing elements in the background - and sometimes the foreground - out of focus and into a lovely blur" is exactly what Kechiche does in his film).

Although Maroh is ok with the fact that Kechiche's heroin has a personality far from hers and thinks that what "he developed is coherent, justified and fluid", I think that turning Clémentine into a dull, monosyllabic and vulgar (bad table manners and so on) Adèle was his most brutal move. The world is full of bestsellers, alright, but Adèle loves to read, likes Kubrick and Scorsese, and doesn't know what Fine Arts are? Not to mention that Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele are not Picasso, but they are still quite known. Her bad manners, along with her lack of culture, far from representing certain voracity, show an exaggerated picture of the (simplistic, but good) working class in opposition to the (liberal, but "mean") intellectual/ high class, a point of view that is already quite clear in the selection of the leading actresses: Léa Seydoux, granddaughter of the Chairman of Pathé, "comes from an extremely wealthy, bourgeois, very comfortable milieu", while Adèle Exarchopoulos "comes from something that is definitely much more modest". Just by seeing some photos of the cast and watching the trailer, I knew that Adèle Exarchopoulos and Kechiche's Adèle were the same person. It's not a surprise to read that he chose her for the role after seeing her eating a lemon tarte, or to see, in interviews, that she speaks and behaves just like her character does. Kechiche opts for naturalism/realism, but more interesting and challenging would be to put the actresses in the opposite roles. One of the strongest points of the film, this social discourse could bring up an interesting discussion if not build on so many clichés. Nonetheless, like Boris says in Woody Allen's "Whatever Works", "sometimes a cliché is finally the best way to make one's point" and Kechiche sure does it showing how sexism is part of the gay community as well: Adèle, that has a "minor" job and a poor intellect is the good and helpful (house) wife; Lise, a cultured painter, but a mom and a femme, probably "cooks for Emma when she gets home at night and gives her flowers in the morning". The butch-femme relationship, an undeniable mirror of heterosexual relationships, usually perpetuates the so discussed stereotypes of male/female's roles.

Perhaps I am becoming too much demanding or too much bitter, but although Léa Seydoux is very convincing as a lesbian, I didn't see anything fantastic about the performances. If the ending is painful, it is not because of Adèle Exarchopoulos's good acting, but because one can relate to such heartbreak. Loving is painful, growing old is hard, and we all know about it.


- You don't love me anymore.

- (no)... But I have infinite tenderness for you. I always will.




* The burden of first love and Adèle's inability to move on slightly reminds me of Mia Hansen-Løve's film "Goodbye First Love".
January 19, 2014
5oclockcoffee

Super Reviewer

Driven by these astounding performances, "Blue is the Warmest Colour" may very well be one of the best films I have ever seen in my life. Every moving frame in this film means something towards the story being told, and the conclusions symbolism will leave you absolutely breathless. This near three hour picture flies by with ease, because every scene of dialogue, every interaction and every explicit sex scene will leave you emotionally changed as a person. Whether you are for or against same-sex relationships, you will truly feel for these characters as they go through many changes. The arcs of these characters is absolutely phenomenal and it really makes you feel bad for anyone who is afraid to come out about their sexuality. This film is brilliantly written, directing, and photographed. There is not one issue I had with this film, inside and out. "Blue is the Warmest Colour" is my favourite film of 2013. No second thoughts were put into that decision, because this really gave me many things to think about, and I did not feel like I was watching a movie a times.
January 11, 2014
KJ Proulx

Super Reviewer

    1. Adele: You don't love me anymore?
    – Submitted by Allison K (3 months ago)
    1. Emma: Why are you lying?
    2. Adele: I'm not lying.
    3. Emma: Then why are you crying?
    4. Adele: I'm not crying.
    – Submitted by Allison K (3 months ago)
    1. Emma: I have infinite tenderness for you, and I will my whole life...
    – Submitted by fuzzy d (5 months ago)
View all quotes (3)

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Latest News on Blue Is The Warmest Color

February 4, 2014:
2014 GLAAD Media Awards Nominations
The GLAAD Media Awards, which honor the best in LGBT film and television, announced its nominees on...
December 3, 2013:
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The NYFCC members held their annual vote on Tuesday, December 3rd. Below are the winners for this...
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Stranger by the Lake, Spring Breakers, Blue is the Warmest Color and Gravity lead influential French...

Foreign Titles

  • Blau ist eine warme Farbe (DE)
  • Blue Is The Warmest Colour (UK)
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