Blue is the Warmest Color

Directed By: Abdellatif Kechiche

Starring: Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux

Since founding STMR, I've been to more movies than I care to count.  Because of this, I've seen and interacted with all kinds of audiences.  Until last night, I thought I had seen it all.  When I attended a screening of Blue is the Warmest Color, however, I checked off one more thing I never could have anticipated, especially at an independent theater.  As you may know, Palme d'Or winner Blue is the Warmest Color is an intense romance about two lesbian lovers.  With it being an NC-17 film, there are some very long and passionate sex scenes between our two lead actresses.  Upon completing the longest, most vigorous sex scene of this powerful movie, the audience in my theater erupted into thunderous applause.  That's definitely a first for me.

Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) is a teenager in high school.  She aspires to be a teacher one day.  Her friends notice that a boy at school named Samir (Salim Kechiouche) is interested in her and that Adèle's feelings seem to be mutual.  On a bus ride to school some days later, the two end up sitting together and falling hard for one another.  Salim asks Adèle out on a date.  On the day of their date, we find Adèle walking to meet him.  While crossing a street, she notices a beautiful blue-haired woman.  A desirous feeling overcomes Adèle that she can't quite describe.  Regardless, she goes on to meet Salim, who does not get lucky on this night.  Adèle does so, however, in her dreams with this blue-haired woman.  After her dream, sex with any man, including Salim, simply will not do.

Bored with Salim, Adèle asks her homosexual friend Thomas (Jérémie Laheurte) to take her out to a gay bar.  It's not her thing, so she wanders into a lesbian bar where she just so happens to run into Emma (Léa Seydoux), the blue-haired woman who took her breath away by just being.  Under the guise that Adèle is Emma's underage cousin, the two begin talking and flirting.  When distracted by her friends, Emma abruptly leaves.  However, she does learn that Adèle attends a local high school named Pasteur.  Soon after, Emma, an art student at a nearby college, begins meeting Adèle after school.  They begin meeting each other on an ongoing basis and eventually lose control with one another.  All Adèle's parents know is that Emma is a "philosophy tutor" enriching their daughter's education.  The film chronicles the girls' decade-long romance and how Emma educates Adèle in the ways of love.

Undoubtedly, Blue is the Warmest Color is an emotionally absorbing and exhausting experience.  Fueled by raw emotion and energy, it's a relentlessly tense and stimulating love story that immerses us into Adèle's steamy sex life.  Director Abdellatif Kechiche leaves no stone unturned in this passionate tale of what it means for two people to have infinite tenderness for one another.  With compelling performances from his two lead actresses (one with whom he's publicly feuded since the film's production) and the most potent sex scenes since Steve McQueen's Shame, Kechiche gives us the best romance since Drake Doremus's Like Crazy.

There's no doubt that the sex scenes in Blue is the Warmest Color are intense.  I'd argue that these scenes are more than just orgasmic.  I'd argue they're transcendent.  Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux give the movie everything they have both physically and sensually in their moments of passion.  Each time they make love on camera, the two actresses seemingly act upon all their characters’ desires for one another that have built up throughout the film.  When they're inside each other giving everything they've got, the expressions on their faces are more than just ecstatic.  We're peering into their souls as they bear everything they have.  It's an incredibly engrossing cinematic experience you don't get every day.  In some small way, I can understand why the audience erupted into applause at the climax of a very pivotal scene.

For her part as Adèle, Adèle Exarchopoulos gives an impressive performance.  The 19 year-old actress grows throughout the film as we watch her learn the ways of love.  She gives us this beautiful, sensitive creature whose emotions are always written on her face.  I still find it hard to believe that she’s just 19.  An interesting aspect of her character that Exarchopoulos explores throughout the film is what it means to be in the closet in Europe. Watching Exarchopoulos delve into this inner conflict is quite fascinating.  For her part as Emma, Léa Seydoux shows a tougher side of herself.  The Midnight in Paris actress brings out a tomboy in her we've never really seen.  She brings a fiery passion to the screen that's quite captivating.

As much as I enjoyed Blue is the Warmest Color, it's a little too long for my taste.  Clocking in at three hours, Kechiche certainly has enough time to thoroughly explore the decade-long relationship between Adèle and Emma.  As I mentioned earlier, however, the film is exhausting.  Maybe something a little shorter would have gotten the job done with the same excellent results.  When I noticed other moviegoers taking bathroom breaks and going to grab more concessions, this became abundantly clear.  Blue is the Warmest Color gets a 0.03% rating.  Have some wine coolers with this one.