Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
When watching a film, I usually have a 120 minute cap, 125 on a good day. It’s very rare that I find myself intentionally watching a film with a run time at or over two and half hours. While I love the art of cinema, I am also a very time conscious person who at any given moment would rather devote my time to multitasking on other projects; like googleing sacred geometry and INTJ personality types, than spending over two hours on any specific task. Typically, after a certain amount of time, I get antsy as passing ideas in my head beckons to have my full attention and research. That’s why to this day I have yet to watch films of interest like Das Boot, Gone with the Wind, The Best Years of Our Lives, Patton, or 8 ½. The desire to watch such films is ever-present, but the commitment to the amount of time needed just isn’t. Call it a short attention span, impatience, or just being an INTJ, but concentrating on one task for longer than 90 minutes becomes forced work to me.
Blue is the Warmest Color piqued my interest when it hit selected theaters considering it was the only NC-17 film at the time. I felt it was my duty to see it, but its three hour running time made me question if I really needed to or if staying at home to catch up on Reddit would better suffice my time. Reddit and its plethora of information won of course, but thankfully Netflix recently added it and I immediately decided to clear my busy internet gazing schedule to watch the much talked about, controversial film of a blossoming love affair. Blue is the Warmest Color boasts a story so captivating that it made time pass seemingly unnoticeably as director Abdellatif Kechiche masterfully ties viewers into the relationship of Emma and Adele.
Blue is the Warmest Color commences with Adele, a high school junior who embarks in a relationship with one of the best looking and most sought after guys in school. However, after a random encounter with blue-haired stranger, Adele begins to feel confusing feelings that ends her relationship with her first partner. Chance reunites Adele with the vixen in blue, Emma, and sparks between the two fly with a quick, electrifying fury. Kechiche paints a bold, colorful portrait of love, loss, and all the feelings felt in between by two lovers. We explore the depths of the two main characters, their fundamental beliefs, their views of the world, and how these traits tie them together.
Through smoldering tight close-ups that shakily stare down our main characters as they stare down one another, Blue is the Warmest Color may incite a physical reaction while viewing for some. Oddly enough, the reactions I had while watching it mirrored that of what I experience when watching horror films; my breaths became labored in anticipation, my palms grew sweaty, and my hearted pumped at an irregular pace– all due to anticipation of Adele and Emma’s first kiss. Kechiche and Ghalia Lacriox’s script allows conversation between characters to flow with natural ease, so much so that at times I unintentionally talked back to the screen as though I was part of their conversations. The script also should be praised for how it details the progression of Emma and Adele’s relationship which reminded me of my own experiences of falling in love for the first time, down to the hazy sun-halo that engulfs a scene of the two leads in physical ties with one another. The likeness these character’s beliefs shared with my own as well as their experiences in love made their existence all the more realistic and their love validated. Aside from the script, the chemistry and talents of lead actors Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos is unprecedented in its glow and realism.
Now, in Kechiche’s attempts to exhibit realism, he becomes overly exploitative in the film’s most controversial aspect, its love-making scenes. The scenes go back and forth between being shot tastefully and cinematically to being shot as though it’s a voyeuristic porn video that means to exploit the fetish of women having sex. I found myself turned off and uncomfortable watching a near five minute scene in which Adele and Emma have sex as the sensual close up of individual body parts and actions gives way to a long, peeping tom-esque shot ripe with voyeurism– and this is coming from someone who until recently frequented online porn. I was also rather disappointed with scenes that went on too long that added nothing refreshing to the story, like numerous moments of Adele dancing with friends that the film’s five editors obviously just couldn’t leave on the editing room floor.
In spite of these hiccups, I enjoyed the laissez-faire view of homosexuality the film possesses, and how naturally the two main character’s relationship unraveled despite Adele’s reluctance to identity herself. This exclusion of sexual identification is perhaps Blue is the Warmest Color’s most admirable quality. It reminds viewers that identifying as gay, straight, or bisexual is nothing more than a label, a box if you will, to place oneself into to find acceptance and common ground. However, real human emotion and sexuality can’t be confined to either or, which makes love and attraction gray and undefinable.
Adele never identifies herself as a lesbian although she embarks on a long-term relationship with a woman. She barely even shows interest in women outside of Emma which brings to the attention that human sexuality, like Alfred Kinsey indicated in the 1950s, is best described on a scale. This scale is all the reminder that we need to ignore sexual labels that ultimately do nothing more than separates groups from one another. Instead. Blue is the Warmest Color invites us love for the sake of loving. As it shows viewers, destiny steps in and throws curveballs in our lives and if we let the fear of judgment or being labeled affect us, we may be missing out on the greatest love and learning imaginable. Blue is the Warmest Color is a fantastic film despite being a bit rough around the edges. Nevertheless, what it lacks in editing prowess and development, it makes up for tenacity and an absolutely beautiful story and narrative.
SEE IT. Now, on Netflix Instant. A Beautiful tale of love and loss and all the dramas in between.