Homosexuality in movies was never new, it had been tried and tested. From Salo to Brokeback Mountain, filmmakers had always tried to bring it to light. Lesbian themes, as well, had been handled before in movies and had edged closed to being both subtle and over the top. Even though I have watched my fair share, I was never a huge fan of Foreign language films. Blue is The Warmest Color had been raking up good reviews and I was obviously intrigued to check what the big fuss was about. As I said lesbian romance or sex aint anything new in movies and so was the story, which from the synopsis didn’t seem like it was breaking any new grounds. The controversies made it more interesting, getting it a large audience and myself being one among them.
Blue is The Warmest Color introduces us to Adèle, a high school student who, just like any other 15 year old, goes to school, is quite well in her studies, hangs out with friends and like any curious adolescent, wants to have a satiable sexual life. Things start to go awry when she does try it out with guys and realizes that she is clearly confused about her sexual orientation…until she lays upon this blue haired girl, Emma. Under the layer of Adèle’s issues lies a spellbinding story which expands onto being a powerful drama about relationships, sex, breakups and all things love.
I have seen plenty of romance dramas but this one does stand out. Blue is The Warmest Color goes a notch above it all, thanks to Adèle’s resplendent performance. From the very beginning you could feel the ominously prophetic Adèle. She was able to capture the initial nuances of not being able to express her feelings to the vulnerability she faces towards the end. Adèle Exarchopoulos is barely 20 years old and she was able to make you feel a cornucopia of emotions: love, passion, vulnerability, dread, a performance that truly deserves a standing ovation.
Lea Seydoux was instantly familiar as Emma, (even with the blue hair), as she left a mark playing the vicious Sabine Moreau in Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol. Lea sported an uncanny charm as the tomboyish Emma which Adele was instantly drawn into and it was no surprise as even I was drawn into her performance.
An absence of a prominent score or ambiance actually did wonders for the narrative. Your focus could be invested on the leads’ performances and their dialogues. You hear them talk, gasp, breathe and it added a different sense of sound to the movie. The visuals all had a distinct flair to it, be it the close-ups of the leads or the calm subtle locales, this movie was able to sync perfectly with the characters’ emotions.
Often romance in movies are depicted too mainstream just for the sake of entertainment and we all have been conditioned to accept it as it is. With Blue is The Warmest Color, director Abdellatif Kechiche does a good job of showing the raw side of things, the romance felt grippingly authentic, it was never cheesy, and it was intense and convincing. And on that note I’d like to quote about the controversial sex scenes in the movie. Rated NC 17, the lovemaking scenes were long and explicitly graphic as well, but despite its thin veil of obvious titillation, the scenes felt aesthetic and quintessential for the narrative. I’d like people to see and accredit Blue is The Warmest Color for its absorbing drama than its intense sex scenes.