Oh. So that’s how “it’s done”.
15-year-old Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) is like any normal female in high-school. She wants to do well in school so that she has a better future; she wants to be sexually-active so that she can have something to brag about; she wants to meet guys and go out with them; and hell, she just wants to like guys in general. However, after finding herself unfulfilled in various attempts at finding the right guy that she likes both in the bed, and out. So, that’s when she decides to change things up on and start swinging the same side, especially since she falls head-over-heels with an openly-lesbian college student named Emma (Léa Seydoux). Together, the two share a lesbian love that is like your normal romance between two humans, except that Adèle wants to keep it hidden away from some people, like her parents, just so that she won’t be judged. But all social-issues aside, nothing else matters when you’re in love, which also means, the harder the blows are going to start coming at you.
If you’ve heard anything about this flick in the past year or so, more than likely, you’ve heard some weird and crazy things. For starters, the movie is rated NC-17, which in and of itself is already made for some controversy, due to the numerous graphic, all-up-in-your-grill sex scenes that involve plenty of female-on-female action. Secondly, director Abdellatif Kechiche has been publicly feuding with his two leading ladies, all because, as they say, they felt uncomfortable by the way he was filming those said sex scenes. My personal opinions aside, what you sign up for, is what you get, ladies. However, that’s just me and I’m insensitive. Whatever.
Anyway, there has been plenty of other controversy surrounding this movie that have to do with final-cuts, people being sued and eventually making amends. But at the end of the day, when all of the controversy is left being discussed and highlighted, we still have a beautiful movie about a two people falling in love. Yes, they are in fact two WOMEN that fall in love here, but that’s not what matters the most. The fact that these two are both females who live in France and can’t really share their love with the whole world around them, is just a crutch used for the bigger issue at hand: Love itself.
Oh, why yes, yes, yes. There have been plenty of romantic-dramas in the past couple of years, and while none of them have really knocked my boots off, none of them have really been bad either. They’ve just been so “meh”, all because I like to think I know what love and relationships feel like. Most movies don’t really seem to nail that utter feel down the way that I imagine it my mind. And then this movie comes around, and totally changes the landscape.
What I like so much about Kechiche’s direction is that this, for lack of a better term, not-stylized in any way, shape or form. Basically, what you see is what you’re going to get; which, for worse, usually means a lot of shaky-cam, uncomfortable close-ups and scenes that seem to end and begin out of nowhere. That said, I think for a story like this, you don’t really need an inspired hand to show it, you just need to tell it with all of the compelling emotions, feelings and thoughts that breathe inside of it, and then I think you’re pretty good. So say what you will about his directing when it comes to the overlong sex scenes, the guy had a vision that was as simple and normal as they come, yet, they do wonders for the movie as it just lets the story give us what it wants to give, and then some.
Everything from beginning-to-end, from the first moment Adèle notices Emma, to the last time they ever lock eyes thinking the same thing, there’s a genuine feel to it. Not for a single moment, except for a couple of times at the end, did I ever feel like I was watching a phony romance, with two stock-characters who would never meet in a million years, or if they did, actually go so far as to start loving one another. Nope, that is not the case here. Instead, what we do have is a story of two people who feel perfect for each other in many ways, making the other happy, pleased and hopeful for what may come next in their lives; but at the same time, also notice that they aren’t, as human-beings, perfect. Like most human-beings, they tend to screw-up, make mistakes and do something that they awfully regret later on in life, but the fact that these two are in love, are together for some time and share so much together, so much more than just fluids and sexual-positions, there’s an heightened-level of emotion added to it.
Most of the time, I found myself and my past relationships in this one, but then again, that might just be me. For instance, the scene where Adèle hosts a house party that Emma throws for all of her artsy-fartsy, pretentious a-holes that she calls friends, is pitch perfect. You can tell that Adèle is this type of shy girl that’s only talkative and up-beat in her own personal-quarters, but anywhere else that’s outside of her comfort zone, she might as well be mute or not even exist. Hence why this whole scene is so painfully heartbreaking, yet, brutally realistic to watch, because as the night continues on and she begins to get more and more comfortable with these people, you can still tell that there’s a barrier she holds between her and these people; a barrier which contains the whole “her”, the same “her” that only Emma, and Emma alone knows. When you see her try her damn near hardest to connect and impress these fools, you can’t help but look away, but also realize at the same time: That might have been you at one point in your life, in love or not. And if not, then don’t worry, it’ll be coming to you very soon.
There’s plenty of moments like that in the whole movie, which makes sense why it doesn’t matter a lick that this is a romance-drama concerning two women. See, while the movie does bring up a few points about same-sex couples, who deserves to know about them and who doesn’t, the movie doesn’t go as far or as detailed with that angle because it’s superfluous to the real message this movie is trying to drive on home: Love is a beautiful aspect to have in life, yet, it is also a painful, terrible one as well. Everything about this movie will either make you laugh, cry, get nostalgic or have you call up that old ex of yours that deserves another try, and sometimes, it’s even all at the same time!
Just take my word for it and know that this movie will be staying with you for quite awhile, even when it is overlong at 3-hours. Even then.
Perhaps the strongest asset this movie has in its arsenal is the cast, but most importantly, the 19-year-old gal who plays our sexually-confused woman for the next three hours, Adèle Exarchopoulos. If you have never heard of, or even seen Exarchopoulos in anything ever before, no need to fear, because it doesn’t seem like many others have either. And that’s not a gripe against her at all, because I feel like, especially after this movie hits the States big time, her name is going to be popping up a whole lot more and more, as it totally should.
What’s so stunning about Exarchopoulos in this role is how she’s able to convey any sense of emotion she has dug into her character, just through a simple movement of her eyes or body. She’s got those expressive eyes that tell you one hundred things, at one time, while her body-motions let you know exactly how she is feeling in a certain environment, whether she’s comfortable with her surroundings or not. She doesn’t even have to say anything, and you already know what she’s feeling at any given moment in time, altogether, making this character one compelling lady to watch, especially since this is her movie, and she gets to show every side of her. Exarchopoulos doesn’t shy away from giving us every look, side or cranny that Adèle has, which is even more impressive considering that we first meet her when she’s 15, and follow her all throughout her early-20’s, where changes in personality, looks and taste-buds change at a very rapid, spit-fire pace.
We all see Adèle for what she is, what she isn’t, what she’s feeling and what she wants to feel, and yet, like I mentioned before, she isn’t perfect. However, she doesn’t have to be a perfect person to be watchable or even the least bit of sympathetic; she just has to give us a real reason why she matters to us, and why she deserves to be loved, especially by somebody like Emma. Obviously Exarchopoulos deserves mucho credit for going all-in when it comes to the sex scenes, but that doesn’t matter when you think about the rest of her performance and just how every second she has up on screen, she makes count, having you understand and feel for her character more and more as you follow her on this journey. Adèle was already a beautiful character to begin with, but Exarchopoulos makes her absolutely stunning in any way you can imagine a female character like hers as being. She may not even get nominated, but if I had to, she’d be my pick for Best Actress this year. So far, that is. However, I still feel pretty damn confident.
And it isn’t like Léa Seydoux is chopped-liver either as Emma, the one that falls for and catches Adèle’s attention right away, it’s just obvious who has the more meatier role out of the two. Still, with that being said, Seydoux still gives us a beautiful character in which we can understand why she’d fall for this young 15-year-old and even go so far as to drop everything she has in her life, just for her. Together, the two make a beautiful couple that may last in many people’s minds for ages and ages to come. However, let’s just hope those people’s minds don’t automatically go straight to their passionate, overtly sexual love scenes together. Although, that’s just wishful thinking on my part.
Consensus: The three-hours may be a bit unneeded, but Blue Is The Warmest Color whole overall production doesn’t get jaded one bit as it is not only a beautiful picture about the romance between two women, but a beautiful picture about romance itself, and all the raw, unrelenting and loving feelings that go with it.
9 / 10 = Full Price!!