A heartbreakingly beautiful film with miraculous performances which sadly is far too long
- Blue Is the Warmest Colour review by TB
We all remember our first loves and the pain that we felt when our hearts were broken. Everything happens in a dream: you think your life is set and then it fails and, in many ways, you never truly get over it. Then, if you are also experimenting with your sexuality, this adds another layer of hurt and upset. This is what Blue Is The Warmest Colour (BITWC) captures nearly flawlessly, with two stunning performances from Léa Seydoux & Adèle Exarchopoulos.
The film begins with Adéle in college, trying to fit in, fall in love whilst also wrestling with her burgeoning sexuality. After making a pass with a friend which then is used against her and becoming a victim of homophobic bullying, she one night walks into a lesbian bar and meets Emma, who she had briefly seen when walking in the street. The chemistry is immediate, and they fall passionately in love.
One of the best things about BITWC is how it shows this young love: we spend wonderful moments seeing them hang out, discuss their love of art, first kisses and then the passionate intimacy they have with each other. As is a running theme with my reviews, I refuse to buy into/join the hysteria about the level of sexuality shown in this film, which is done absolutely and completely unapologetically. The three beautifully filmed sex scenes are there to show the passion they have for each other and also add to the emotional sledgehammer of not only how their love progresses but also when the relationship breaks down.
And it gives me no real pleasure to criticise what for me is the worst part of this film: it is far, far too long. I mentioned above that it was wonderful to spend time getting to know Adéle and Emma, and this pays dividends. But then the film does something unforgivable, considering how wonderful it has been up to that point: there is one scene, set at a dinner party which takes up nearly half an hour of the narrative, where various characters just sit and talk to each other. It doesn’t advance the story, nothing major happens and it feels like the film literally slams on the brakes.
Then by the time the film moves on, so much momentum has been lost it can never truly be regained. But that isn’t to say there aren’t some staggeringly moving and upsetting moments, especially the meet-up in the coffee shop, which hit me like a sledgehammer.
Léa Seydoux & Adèle Exarchopoulos, as the two leads, are wonderful. Although Seydoux is exceptional, to me this film belongs to Exarchopoulos. From the opening moments, you cannot take your eyes off her. In the course of 3 hours, she shows us Adéle going from anxious and naïve, to open and free, then finally broken and bereft. To see those big brown eyes with tears pouring from them breaks your heart.
Credit must also be given to Abdellatif Kechiche. He masterfully directs this film and it would not be what it is without him. I will not shy away from also saying that the reports of unacceptable behaviour regarding working conditions should absolutely not have happened, but that I do not want this to detract from the finished product. For the interests of balance, Kechiche has felt the full force of this and extremely large amounts of negative press have been directed at him.
Despite the problems with length, this is still wonderful, passionate filmmaking. It is a wonderful and human story of love and heartbreak, so absolutely put this on your rental list.
0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.