Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland Markus
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
Rated NC-17 for explicit sexual content
Now playing at Camera 3 in Downtown San Jose, California:
This year’s Palme d’Or winner (which usually means nothing) “Blue Is the Warmest Color (or “La vie d’Adele”) is a perfect example of a film of two halves. The first half (on its own) is one of the two or three best movies of 2013, in its social importance, technical excellence and fresh commentary on the journey of adolescent sexuality. Unfortunately, the second half (the final hour and a half) veers down a fairly generic “trouble in paradise” path, that (despite the heavy nudity) will cause many to check their watches.
Synopsis: When Adele, a teenage plain-Jane, can’t figure out why she isn’t into the other boys, even though many seem infatuated by her, she meets a rebellious girl with blue hair named Emma, who ignites a desire in Adele that she never knew she possessed. When people use the term “coming of age” to entice me into watching a movie, I usually cringe. But in the case of “Blue Is the Warmest Color”, the coming of age aspect (the first 90 minutes) is the only part of this movie which really blew me away.
As far as the direction goes, the use of colors (mainly the color blue) is undoubtedly as impressive as anything director Abdellatif Kechiche brought to the table. Suffice to say, this is shot beautifully. Undoubtedly one the most gorgeous looking films I’ve seen all year.
The Sex Scenes: Lea Seydoux (whose performance was literally one of the only positive takeaways from “Farewell, My Queen”) is tremendous here playing Emma, the lesbian who falls in love with Adele. And so is Adele Exarchopoulos, who plays the blossoming flower, Adele. But with a rating of NC-17, what this movie will more than likely be remembered for is the extremely graphic, seemingly unsimulated and awkwardly long lesbian sex sequences, during the halfway mark of this movie. While these sequences do serve to show Adele and Emma in their most exposed states (physically and emotionally) and are undeniably visually erotic, after about a minute or two, it is my firm belief that they don’t really serve to push the story forward. If anything, at around minute six or seven of one of the sex scenes, Kechiche’s only intent seems to be to make every audience member over the age of 60, walk out of the theater.
Final Thought: This film is predicated on the hypothesis that the times when characters are not speaking are more important than any dialogue spoken. Hence, what you get here is a lot of lingering gazes and moments where you think someone is going to talk…and then they don’t. Not to say that these scenes aren’t emotional, just know what you’re getting into. While many may be totally immersed in the highly emotional sequences of this beautiful love story between the two women, others may be done with this very slowly paced film after about two hours and become more enamored by the numerous shots of Adele’s runny nose every times she cries (if you’ve seen the film, you know what I’m talking about). Anyway, even though “Blue Is the Warmest Color” will not garner a Best Foreign Film nomination at the Oscars on a technicality and even though I can’t fully recommend this to everyone (mostly because of the runtime (again, IT’S THREE HOURS LONG!) and predictability during the latter half) this is worth seeing for the first 90 minutes alone.
Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus