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“Blue is the Warmest Color” [“La Vie d’Adèle Chapitres 1 et 2”] – Review (POSITIVE)

November 19, 2013

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 11.08.56 AMThis movie is not for everyone, seeing it in a packed movie theater in West Palm Beach made that very clear. About 45 people were seated, in an 85 seat theater, nearly half of the occupancy were gone by the time the end credits rolled. An intensely sexualized love story about two young lesbian girls seem to have a mass effect on people, for good or bad. It’s seems that most of the effect came from the controversial (supposed) un-simulated sex scene that filmmakers and cinephiles have been talking about since the movies premiere at Festival de Cannes this year. For whatever reason it may be, me and the many others who stuck with the movie for it’s 3 hour runtime garnered something more from this beautiful film.

“Blue is the Warmest Color” is an episodic journey about a young girl named Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), she’s vivacious and loves just about everything life can throw at her. She’s a lover of reading and American cinema, and yet, the one thing that’s missing in her life is love. One day, Adèle is strolling in her town, she walks pass a young woman with blue hair, Emma (Léa Seydoux), from that moment she was caught in a trance by this mysterious female.

After a few misunderstood relationships, Adèle reverts back to the image of this beautiful blue-haired creature, and uses her image for her own sexual desires. One night, chance played it’s cards right for Adèle and she finally meets Emma for real. Love takes these two on a passionate journey, however, the begin to learn about subtle differences between one another, that became a sign of loves demise, only Adèle & Emma never picked up on it till later in life.

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 11.20.39 AM“Blue Valentine” was a movie that showed us the harsh realities of the beginning of a relationship into marriage, “Blue is the Warmest Color” shows the harsh realities of life and love in itself. If we pay very close attention, these subtle difference between these girls should’ve been a red flag, but being blinded by love can do crazy things and sometimes, forcefully, change perspective on ones own ideals. It’s a simple example, but without giving too much away, Adèle hates shellfish, Emma loves it, after a dinner with Emma’s family, Adèle is open to the idea of shellfish and accepts into her life. It seems like a stupid concept, but when you see the film, shellfish kinda returns in a major, or depending how you see it, minor way later when the two woman live with each other.

An interesting thing I noticed about this movie is the lack of musical score, which in case works in benefit to the movies tone, music I feel is used to break the barriers between fantasy and reality, it heightens the reality of the movie. There is music in the film, but it’s ambient depending on the environment. The [infamous] sex scene is simply orchestrated with moans, screams, kisses, and slaps by Adèle & Emma. Being that this scene runs for nearly 10 mins, gives us a very realistic manner. Which case in point probably made it extremely awkward for the viewers.

Screen shot 2013-11-19 at 11.09.06 AMWhen you look back at sex scenes in films, most of them are driven with music, not all, but some are, even if there’s no cinematic score, sometimes we’re given ambient music. Hell, even pornographic films have music to coincide with their given sex scenes. Yet, something about the sex scene(s) in this film are so raw, and nitty-gritty, you cannot help but be caught up in the power of the scene. It’s erotic yes, but can also be heartbreaking. There are three major sex scenes, and you’ll notice their runtime becomes shorter and shorter as more about the girls is revealed.

One other thing I noticed, that many may have not scene, or chose not to see, was the use of the color blue. Before Adèle meets Emma in passing, her world, the color scheme is well balanced, but after their passing, suddenly EVERYTHING, her family, friends, even pedestrians in the street are all wearing different shades of blue. Her bedroom miraculous transforms into blue. Blue is a fascinating motif in films like this, many attribute blue as a color for sadness, which works in telling this films story, is possible that shrouding Adèle in blue foreshadows that she may never find true happiness? That’s one theory I’d like to consider.

The movies original French title is “La Vie d’Adèle Chapitres 1 et 2”, Chapitres 1 et 2 indicates that this is part 1 of a 2 part story where the film ends isn’t necessarily the end of Adèle’s tale, and if you pay attention her journey may in fact take her farther abroad to a familiar country she’s been dreaming of visiting, perhaps there the continuation and search for love may find a happier ending.

GRADE: A

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