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Mitchell's Top 20 Films of 2013: #12 "Blue is the Warmest Color"

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12. "Blue is the Warmest Color" - Adèle Exarchopoulos gives one of the very best performances of the year as a high school student discovering her sexuality and graduating into womanhood through a passionate love affair with an early 20-something collegiate co-ed with blue hair.

Director/co-writer Abdellatif Kechiche winds through Adèle's (Exarchopoulos) and Emma's (Léa Seydoux) relationship for almost three hours of film, and intricately captures subtle - and not so subtle - nuances which show love as wonderful and also traumatic.

Whether she eats at the dinner table or lies fast asleep in bed, Kechiche spends a - seemingly - excessive amount of time on Exarchopoulos's face.

By focusing his camera solely on her, he willingly anchors the audience to her highly charged, very racy and engaging coming-of-age story.

With two very torrid bedroom scenes, this film is rated NC-17 for a reason.

One love-making scene in particular runs for about eight minutes but is not accompanied by flowery dissolves or ornate background music.

Kechiche simply shoots two women in love and in fervor.

It is raw, intense and feels very real.

These moments are also important to the story because they cement the attraction the women have towards one another.

Obviously, couples do not spend a majority of their time in the bedroom, and the film does not spend the majority of its time in Adèle's and Emma’s bedroom either.

The film occupies plenty of stretches with Adèle and Emma having philosophic conversations, making dinner, enjoying time with friends, and lounging around, and in the process Exarchopoulos and Seydoux organically create their characters' relationship.

By devoting 2 hours and 59 minutes to the narrative, Kechiche takes the time to effectively showcase their connection.

No matter how Adèle and Emma express their love in subtle ways throughout a typical day, we remember and know their bond is complete, beautiful and rare.

Follow me on Twitter: @MitchFilmCritic

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