Film Review: BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR

Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche
Written by Abdellatif Kechiche and Ghalia Lacroix, based on the graphic novel by Julia Maroh
Starring: Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos

Everyone has heard by now about the extended, graphic sexual scene in BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, but that is not the scene that will stick with you in this terrific film. This one of the richest evocations of the heartbreak of young love ever put on a screen. That’s what will stick with me at least.

Adele is a schoolgirl who can’t seem to get worked up about the tentative approaches of a young man. Her friends don’t understand why and neither does she until she finds herself struck dumb by the blue-haired girl she first sees on the street and then later in a bar. Emma is currently involved, but she soon extricates herself from this affair and begins a seduction of the younger, Adele.

The film spends a lot of time on presenting their respective families, letting their relationship take its time in playing out, letting people talk. It is not the disparity in years that eventually undoes this romance but the disparity in class, education, and aspiration. In many ways, it reminded me of BLUE VALENTINE, of a few years’ back. Adele has her own dreams, but she is no intellectual and the artistic, philosophical Emma cannot fit her comfortably into her group of friends.

The examination of class is superb. But what really made this my favorite film of 2013 was its examination of heartbreak. Of how a romance gone bad can upset one partner, but destroy the other. Some people seem to only fall in love once, and they are stuck in that place forevermore. This is a thoughtful, poignant film that showcases a brilliant director and her two brilliant actresses. I may see a better film in the next week, but I doubt it.

Patti Abbott