Film: ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’ is a Love Epic for the New Decade

By Will Ashton | wa054010@ohiou.edu| @thewillofash
Blue is the Warmest Color
| Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche | Rated NC-17
RATING: 4/5

blue-is-the-warmest-color-posterIt’s not uncommon to see movies about love, particularly young love. But it is rare to see one that depicts it in its honest and ever-spanning realism.

Blue is the Warmest Color, the film that took home the prestigious Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, however, does just that.

Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos), a mildly introverted 15-year-old girl, comes to terms with her budding sexuality when she crosses paths with Emma (Lea Seydoux), a spunky Fine Arts student. As they begin to develop a relationship together, Adele grows to understand where her life is going and what she wants out of life—if she truly knows at all.

Coming-of-age love stories are a dime a dozen. What makes this film stand out is not so much its originality, but its frankness and its beauty in looking at the little details in life. In its bloated running time, it builds a fulfilling and withstanding world that feels documentary real. Thanks to its grounded and simple but gorgeous cinematography by Sofian El Fani and director Abdellatif Kechiche heartfelt direction, the film is able to accomplish its mission on telling a realistic and sincere story of love at its most grounded and basic.

The best thing about this film, however, is that it gives gay cinema a wonderful and genuinely good love story. As society on the whole becomes more open and accepting of gay and lesbian relationships, this film demonstrates the potential to be held with this growing subculture of cinema. What makes Blue is the Warmest Color so outstanding, beyond being so competently filmed and acted, is its ability to push gay cinema forward. It shows a progression that Hollywood and other film producers need to give their films, and this movie is a great place to start.

Among all else, what is most impressive about Blue is the Warmest Color is its ability to be epic and intimate at the same time. While its three-hour length could probably have been cut down to at least two-and-a-half and would not feel many blow-backs, its length gives the movie a sense of longevity, in relation to its subject, that is not often seen—or at least successfully done—in these type of films. Things like spaghetti, classrooms and the color blue, among other things, come up in repetition here, but Kechiche is able to give each of these themes different meanings and context as the story progresses. There’s a simplistic rhythm to this movie that speaks greatly about how we live our lives.

The film’s power primarily comes from its incredible lead performances from Exarchopoulos and Seydoux and its sensitive yet assertive direction from Abdellatif Kechiche. Their fearless and committed performances bring these characters to life, but mainly they bring this relationship to life thanks to their likable and easy-going chemistry. While the film’s sex scenes push on gratuity, it is in their dedication to tell a lesbian relationship in all its faults and truths that makes them so special.

Be warned, however: this film earns its NC-17 rating. Think twice before you take your folks to see it with you.

Beyond its sexuality and its lesbian lead relationship, Blue is the Warmest Color doesn’t really touch upon themes that have not been seen on the screen before. But in its ability to tell its story in all its dramatic scope with two excellent lead performances, it becomes one of the most stunning and memorable love epics of the new decade.

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