Blue is the Warmest Colour

Film

Romance

La Vie D'Adele - Blue is the Warmest Colour

Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>5</span>/5

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>3</span>/5
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Time Out says

Thu May 23 2013

‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ is a minutely detailed, searingly erotic three-hour study of first lesbian love. Its writer-director, the French-Tunisian Abdellatif Kechiche, had a setback with his last film, 2010’s ‘Black Venus’. An imposing biopic of the nineteenth-century South African slave-turned-freakshow-act Saartjie Baartman it proved too harrowing a vision for British or American distributors. Most directors would retreat into safer territory after an experience like that, but most directors aren’t Kechiche. ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ is the most brazenly singular return the ‘Couscous’ director could have made, and the richest film of his career to boot.

Nothing about the film’s coming-of-age narrative, nor the rise and fall of its core romance, is intrinsically new or daring, yet Kechiche’s freewheeling perspective on young desire is uncommon in its emotional maturity. Our heroine, Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos, astonishing), begins the film as a precocious high-schooler and ends it as a grown woman still with plenty to learn about herself. Unlike so many same-sex-themed films that focus on coming out as the defining gay experience, ‘Blue is the Warmest Colour’ glides past that stage of Adèle’s life in a bold chronological leap, finding more nuanced drama in the evolving challenges of maintaining an unfixed sexuality.

Adèle is 15 when she senses something amiss in her dating life. Dreamy schoolmate Thomas (Jeremie Laheurte) is all over her, but she can’t get a fleeting pavement encounter with blue-haired art student Emma (Léa Seydoux) out of her mind. The girls meet again on Emma’s timid first trip to a lesbian bar, and love swiftly blossoms – leading into some of the most graphically sensual girl-on-girl sex scenes in screen history. Yet in contrast to the older, more cosmopolitan Emma, Adèle never entirely relaxes into her sexual identity, and is still keeping it carefully guarded when the film skips forward several years to find the couple living together in fragile domestic bliss.

From this simple, not especially unique love story, Kechiche has fashioned an intimate epic in every sense of the term, its every subtle emotional turn rendered widescreen on Exarchopoulos’s exquisitely expressive face. Just 19 years old, the actress effortlessly charts Adèle’s growth from young adult to young woman. Typically for a Kechiche film, meanwhile, her individual journey is set within a bustling, articulate network of friends, family and food. He remains a most sociable filmmaker, which makes his new film’s tingly behind-closed-doors tenderness all the more remarkable.

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Release details

UK release:

Fri Nov 15, 2013

Duration:

179 mins

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

3.5 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:11
  • 4 star:0
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:6
LiveReviews|19
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Robert
1 of 1 found helpful

I knew that there was something wrong when we walked into what was a virtually empty cinema as the programme started. And no my premonition was correct, the empty cinema as the film started meant that I had not picked up on what most other Londoners had obviously heard. I had read the reviews (yes, 5 star from Time Out's Guy Lodge) expecting a great film only to be presented with a clumsy, self-indulgent and truly dull and boring film that went on and on and on and on.....Virtually every scene, however short, was too long and the script was so trite it was embarrassing. I only regret that I had not been warned about the film as clearly so many others were and had gone to see something entertaining and at least moderately intelligent. The problem with this film is not that it might be censored (see below), but that it was n't - and the more it would have been cut, the better; ideally down to about fifteen minutes. I really find it difficult to justify the one star that I am forced to give it.

Desmond F

Having just watched this Palme Dor winning film on Blu Ray, I am disappointed that I never got to see this exceptional piece of work at my local Curzon when it was required of me.  The director (Abdellatif Kechiche) - whose name has hopefully come to prominece with this - handles the releationship of the love affair between the two girls with adept precision.  Now, I am not aware of how the lesbian community have reacted to the material, but as a full-bloodied hetrosexual man looking at two women on a journey of discovery, their sexual orientaion becomes exempt.


The heartbreaking awareness of loss is brilliantly manifested by the two leads, who are extraordinary in this; particularly Adele Exarchopoulos (devastatingly cute) who conveys pain in such a unique way that her conviction is not overtly exploited that could lead to an excessive use of saccharin, which can be detriment to a story such as this. How the two leads were overlooked at the recent awards ceremonies is beyond me.  Both play their characters with brute honesty that you feel at times,  are eavesdropping on a personal moment between the two.


The sex scenes are handled well, and are not as shocking or as graphic as one is led to believe - especially today in a world inhabited by Gaspar Noe and Lars Von Trier.  The scenes which have now - sadly - characterized the film, are pretty much overshadowed by the beautiful interplay between the two girls that you forget they are there.


It is a powerful film of love and releationships that we haven't seen in a long time, and I anticipate the arrival of another Kechiche movie with great interest.

Alis W

Julie Maroh wants to give visibility to the difficulties found by a teenager during the process of her sexual acceptance, and present a great love story. And of course, no one denies the need for the sex exists, but is treated in a completely different way: aesthetically tasteful, respect and sensitivity. The film is the opposite: almost masturbatory male gaze betrays itself through a facile and crude scenes. The problem is not with the explicit sex whenever it's justified and well presented. The problem is when it was decided to show THIS WAY, through a lengthy scene with the sole purpose of creating curiosity and controversy (many people say these scenes show to the world how lesbians do their thing in the bedroom to those who are unfamiliar with this lifestyle, but which is the need of that?? Do you really need to provide a catalog of sexual positions to the audience? It's not necessary!!!). Those who have true sensitivity deeply despise this movie, so absurd and offensive as having made Ingrid Bergman fucking during 15 minutes in "Casablanca" (I don't need to see it to understand their passion, so why with Adele and Emma we need to see seven orgasms to "understand" their desire and passion? Does Kechiche believe we are idiots?)... "Blue is the warmest" is nothing more than commercial pornography disguised as hypocrite intensity. Many lesbians are very tired of hearing so many raves about this movie. If someone wants to shoot porn, well, do it, but don't lie pretending it's another different thing and don't dare to disguise it as something else. It is clear that men heterosexual love lesbian theme and they feel attracted by it very much, but it's so obvious to deny it later with such hypocrisy that we feel offended and outraged. The type who is excited watching sex between two women is as old as the world, and "Blue is the warmest" feeds the same fantasy inside porn movies. I do not understand why this director has dared to use lesbians through a film that is nothing more than a sexist and morbid appropriation.


The true talent of a director is his ability to show something without having to resort to the easiest resources but suggesting them. The film would have won in strength and universal message, not stay in a concessive and superficiality plane. Of course, without these very provocative scenes would not have caused so much excitement in the review. Kechiche stays in and morbid vision of lesbians; he could have done a truly wonderful work but stayed in the easy: the sex, the only thing vulgar mass seems to understand.

We all know very well what has been the main attraction of this movie: the lesbian themes and sex scenes, without them nobody had talked about this film. The lesbian sex is attractive to men, the director knew it and he has exploded it for this reason. Try to substitute one of the girls by a boy, the film would have passed completely unnoticed. Precisely people has talked so much about it for being two women the leading roles, try to change one of them for a guy to see what remains... a deep story or anything extraordinary? here is no plot, no depth, no brilliant script, no powerful message... only sex. Kechiche's vision is a reifying, harnessed and morbid vision of lesbians; with excellent original story that he could have done, with a truly, wonderful and profound original work, but he stayed in the easiest (why remove that scene, vital to the plot, expulsion from home by their parents? That scene itself that was necessary and not that other of the "scissors"), which I find it very sad. Pure morbid and nothing more.


Yet another test: the promotional photos with Adèle and Lea adopting suggestive postures, lying in bed, kissing half naked... that is not commercial and morbid, isn't? What sense is there if it's not promote the film with those photos?

In short: this is a perfect example of how to reduce a fantastic original material into shit and hypocritically want to sell it as art. With an unbelievable story he had in his hands, and a great plot to develop, Kechiche wasted footage in scissors and cunnilingus to the delight of critics and straight wankers.

We, as lesbians, have struggled a lot to achieve respect from society since past years (and it still costs a lot) and suddenly we see exposed ourselves and visible only to promote male erotic myth. It's very frustrating, because we feel as if everybody yell us when we express our disappoint: "You complain when you should applaud because we are showing lesbian life in an artistic and realistic way, you hysterical!!". The same thing when women are "forced" to acknowledge receiving the compliment on the street they have not asked for. The day we see penises on screen with the same frequency that we see boobs we will be able to talk about equality... and until I don't see a movie of the same director in which he recreates for 15 minutes in two men practicing "super justified" and " super beautiful" anal sex, I will still continue thinking that he is nothing more a vulgar onanist who has just wanted to spead out his own fantasy and many men's.

Paula A

I am a lesbian and seeing this film has given me a deep disgust and rejection of seeing a morbid man as Kechiche sadly reduces us to the same old thing: mere objects of male curiosity and porn. Here there is no depth, no brilliant script, no plot, no transcendent issue... nothing more than 15 minutes of ridiculous wild sex for men with the intention of selling the movie disguised as the biggest love history story ever told, but it's only pornography. If two men have been the protagonists (or a man and a woman), the director would never have recreated in a sex scene between them like this and the movie would not have been so brightfull for critics. This movie offers nothing more than the curiosity of female homosexuality and especially the explicit images to prove it. If the couple had been heterosexual and if realistic sex had been treated in a more subtle manner, this movie never had been so praised. But of course, heterosexual critics liked it a lot and for that reason this film won Cannes. It sucks. What a shame.

Sorry, but I can't admire nothing in a film with a male director abusing actresses and putting his pornish fantasies all over the screen and calling it art.

MikeT

Good, but not as good as I was expecting. Certainly the widely reported sex scenes are as graphic as they're supposed to be. But ultimately all very depressing and not a film I'd go and see again, or get on DVD.

Ana F

Beautiful and honest account of a relationship, with all its ups and downs. Superb acting.

Ana F

Beautiful and honest account of a relationship, with all its ups and downs. Superb acting.

james

Beautifully shot, with some incredible performances and cool dialogue, but ruined by the editing, far too many unnecessary scenes, including the sex, which made me laugh, sex is so ridiculous to watch, animals humping - what is one meant to think? Are we meant to be impressed by the directors' courage or something?

sticky

Don't listen to all those one-star reviews who knock the film. Remember most serious film journalists have given it 4 or 5 stars. Time Out is just one of loads of 5 star reviews. This film has depth and lots of it. Speaking as a gay man, this is no 'Brokeback Mountain' (no film could EVER match that) but this lesbian romance is about as great as it could get. Yes, many of the ordinary and dramatic scenes are long (granted a few sex scenes are a bit too long) but there's so much detail and such emotion etched on the faces of the two female leads, as well as all the fab supporting turns. Remember this film won the Palm d'Or at Cannes, with a jury headed by Steven Spielberg and it included such luminaries as Daniel Auteuil, Nicole Kidman, Christophe Waltz and the incredible Ang "Brokeback" Lee. If I were wondering whose opinion to trust, I know whose I'd go for. I have to say though that the film gets five stars rather than four because of one person alone.....the absolutely incredible lead actress, Adele Exarchopoulos. She tied with Cate Blanchett for Best Actress from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and she fully deserves to give Cate a good run for her money at the Oscars in a couple of months. The actress is in virtually every scene for three hours and you will get carried along on this rollercoaster of emotions with the character, simply because of the skill of this amazing 20 year-old actress. As for the very end of the film and the last couple of shots outside the gallery, they just put the icing on this incredible cake.

sticky

Don't listen to all those one-star reviews who knock the film. Remember most serious film journalists have given it 4 or 5 stars. Time Out is just one of loads of 5 star reviews. This film has depth and lots of it. Speaking as a gay man, this is no 'Brokeback Mountain' (no film could EVER match that) but this lesbian romance is about as great as it could get. Yes, many of the ordinary and dramatic scenes are long (granted a few sex scenes are a bit too long) but there's so much detail and such emotion etched on the faces of the two female leads, as well as all the fab supporting turns. Remember this film won the Palm d'Or at Cannes, with a jury headed by Steven Spielberg and it included such luminaries as Daniel Auteuil, Nicole Kidman, Christophe Waltz and the incredible Ang "Brokeback" Lee. If I were wondering whose opinion to trust, I know whose I'd go for. I have to say though that the film gets five stars rather than four because of one person alone.....the absolutely incredible lead actress, Adele Exarchopoulos. She tied with Cate Blanchett for Best Actress from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and she fully deserves to give Cate a good run for her money at the Oscars in a couple of months. The actress is in virtually every scene for three hours and you will get carried along on this rollercoaster of emotions with the character, simply because of the skill of this amazing 20 year-old actress. As for the very end of the film and the last couple of shots outside the gallery, they just put the icing on this incredible cake.

hackneyvi

The film's general naturalness and sobriety carries it but it seemed a very slight story where little of visible significance took place beyond the meeting of the girls themselves. They have a few meals, meet the folks and split up. The relationship ending because of an established trait of dishonesty was felicitous but I wasn't much moved by the film. It is well-played and I do wonder if some scripted subtlety is lost on viewers (such as I) who are dependent on English subtitles. I am given no choice by Time Out; I have to give stars if I want to express an opinion. I loathe the star system so it gets 1. If it was optional, I'd vote a strong 3. If I were a gay woman, I might be much more moved; overall, it simply seemed a little ordinary - girl meets girl, they go out then split up.

Eugene

A profoundly boring film with a few scenes of lesbian porn thrown in. Look elsewhere if you want to watch something interesting, or beautiful, or moving. As for lesbian porn - I am sure you know where to find such films.

Jessica Kate

Where is this showing in the UK? Heard wonderful things about it and want to see it asap- but can't see any listings apart from the LLF ones that have passed. HELP! x

Jessica Kate

Where is this showing in the UK? Heard wonderful things about it and want to see it asap- but can't see any listings apart from the LLF ones that have passed. HELP! x