Blue Is The Warmest Color Reviews
Now, she didn't become the youngest person ever to win the Cannes Film Festival 'Palme d'Or' award (and 37 other nominations) purely for her willingness to bare everything - and I do mean EVERYTHING!- but the break up scene with her lesbian lover is gut-wrenching, raw, intense stuff. You feel her pain. An incredible performance, it's like it's happening for real right before your eyes, a lightning bolt caught on camera.
Three hours is normally a tad long for me, and if they had cut the sex scenes it would have been a more normal length film - that's how much bare-ass, steamy, getting it on there is in this film! It's French after all. But it all does set the scene for just how deeply Adèle falls for this, her first, love. That's my excuse anyway. She's also fit as. Just sayin.
No CGI, no intricate plot, no panoramic camera work, but a story that feels real and a performance of unbridled raw emotion. Can't recommend this film enough.
Lea Seydoux, one of the leads, said she felt "like a prostitute" during filming. "The director has all the power. When you're an actor on a film in France and you sign the contract, you have to give yourself, and in a way you're trapped." Seydoux did not attend the New York premiere.
The explicit scenes left the break-out star of the film, Adèle Exarchopoulos, feeling "embarrassed" and "ashamed".
Julie Maroh, author of the book Blue Angel,which the film was based on, called the 10-minute sex scene "a brutal and surgical display, exuberant and cold, of so-called lesbian sex, which turned into porn, and me feeling very ill at ease". Her possible explanation? "It appears to me this was what was missing on the set: lesbians."
Director Abdellatif Kechiche hit back by threatening not to the release the film and perhaps even sue Seydoux for her comments. Very classy, indeed.
With this in mind I attended the first South African screening of the film, which formed part of the Out in Africa Film Festival and I was left, conflicted. Even though there are absolutely brilliant aspects to the 3-hour epic, there is a creepiness to it that I am struggling to pin down.
The brilliant bits
Kechiche manages to subtly capture the essence of a scene. Whether it is a party, Pride, an intimate conversation or a violent argument, he just gets it right.
He has perfected filming extra-long, meandering dialogue-heavy scenes, scenes that would normally have been totally boring, in a way which is absolutely engrossing. Intimate, almost mundane conversations have you spellbound. It is a combination of the brilliant script, the close-up shots, the casting choices, and apparently sometimes 100 takes for a single scene.
Filming a crowd without making it look like a set with actors, is difficult. Not for Kechiche. He captures the energy, the passion, yet makes it feel intimate, as if you are there. The same goes for the back-and-forth dinner party banter. It flows, it is natural. It doesn't feel like a scene in a film, but like the dinner party you attended a few nights back.
He captures both the innocence and the malice of high school children, the intensity of young love, how difficult coming of age can be, and the problems of a class system.
Sometimes the "rawness" of the film was too much to bear. Cinemagoers were initially grossed out by, and then laughing at, the amount of mucus dripping from Exarchopoulos's nose throughout the various crying scenes. So much so that no one could concentrate on what was actually being said, or portrayed. It has popped up in many other reviews. How well does that serve your film?
Even though Adèle Exarchopoulos is an incredible acting talent and a delight to watch on screen, after two hours, which felt like 13 hours, I had had enough of her close up, the shots of her sleeping and her derriere in the camera (during walking, sleeping, sex, etc). I just wanted her to stop crying, get over herself and move on with her life, and even perhaps off screen.
In writing this review, I was faced with two options: I could say nothing about the sexual content and be inauthentic. Or I could voice my concern and either be labelled a prude or a whining lesbian. I'm going to go right ahead and state my case. Remember, I don't speak for all the lesbians on this planet.
I found the sex scenes ridiculous, very clinical and devoid of any real connection between the two leads. In fact, it spoiled the film for me. It was not sensual, not representative of the clumsiness of young love or the emotional intensity between two women. I agree with Maroh that it felt like a porn movie. You just needed some cheesy 70s music.
I also found the extent of the sex scenes gratuitous and shot from a leering, creepy point of view, which must obviously, then, be Kechiche's point of view, as he is in complete control. Exarchopoulos had barely turned 18 when they shot the film. So yes, she was of age, and she consented to it, blah, blah, blah, yet I cannot help but feel that close-up shots of her labia were exploitative and unnecessary.
There, I've said it.
The gratuitous, voyeuristic sexual content unfortunately overshadows the brilliance of the film.
This film's saving graces are the lead performances, which make the unbridled (arguably pornographic) sexuality easier to take. However, the drama is deeply compelling.
I know I'm in the minority here, but I seriously don't get how people resonate with this film. The story of a coming-of-age teenager finding and failing her first love (because of the difference in the social rank, life experience, artistic taste, or whatever weak reason the movie comes up with) is all but too old as a piece of stale cheese. Were it not for the lesbian twist, the story by itself stands no higher than any typical romantic ANIME that Japanese cranks out dozens of times every year. I would even consider You've Got Mails, Serendipity, and many other Hollywood style love dramas, blockbuster or not, way more entertaining.
The movie could've spent more time on developing the emotional and social struggle the main character goes through with her love journey, and in the process makes her character more relatable to common viewers. Yet the director or the scriptwriter or whoever has their libido unchecked decided to waste the precious time in a film in unnecessary nudity to almost porn-like details.
I get why nudity is important to some love stories, because it's the rawest, most basic yet most powerful expression of love and desire human beings can convey, but an artistic depiction of sex scenes have to serve a purpose integral to the story, not just some eye-candy, or worse, marketing tools, to boost the movie sales by appealing to the audience's crotch. Yet I fail to see any necessity of the nude scenes in this film, except that it makes the motive of the main character more erotic than emotional, another fatal blow to an already weak story.
Please stop giving this movie high commendation because of your desire to be politically correct. Tagging a movie with sensitive or controversial social elements doesn't guarantee it to be a masterpiece. Quite the opposite, it often conveys the laziness of the movie-makers and lack of creativity. A true proponent of homosexual romance should voice their support through genuine stories of the complicated struggles gays and lesbians face in their life, not riding on the hype of homosexuality in the superficial hope of winning a golden statue. Otherwise, you are not supporting homosexuality, you are simply abusing it for personal gain.