Film Nerd Thoughts on: Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013) Dir. Abdellatif Kechiche
Synopsis: Adele’s life is changed when she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire, to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adele grows, seeks herself, loses herself, finds herself.
My verdict: *takes a deep breathe*. How do you rate a film that was given the Palm D’or at Cannes last year? I can only speak from my experience of this film. It is a great queer film to start with: Adèle Exarchopoulos nails the social anxiety that comes with being queer so well: it also reminded me of Tom Cullen’s naturalistic performance in Andrew Haigh’s Weekend - another great queer film. In particular there is a brutal scene where Adele’s classmates are bullying her about seeing a girl and this moment will have you gritting your teeth at the nastiness that some teenagers can have towards each other.
This was a very french film to me because it is only interested in reality: there is no music, the performances are incredibly naturalistic and it is quite a drawn out study of a young girl growing into a woman. The performances are brilliant of course: I imagine the jury at Cannes had a tough time choosing best performance by an actress last year with this work in the festival.
It is an overlong film and to be brutally honest, I don’t think I could watch it again soon. There is so much truth in Blue though if you can sit through the 3 hours and watch this girl subtly and slowly transition. Sometimes I can sit through these drawn out films about reality but sometimes I just can’t (Michael Haneke’s Amour was an example). I will say though: after 3 hours of observing this character, how much does Adele really change? Take a look at the final camera shot in this film and decide for yourself but maybe you will end up just like me and decide that this film is not about Adele, but more so about first love.
I’ve always viewed queer cinema as being such an important genre because it gives straight people an opportunity to step into the queer experience and see what life is like as an “other” and also for queer people to see their stories on screen for once.
Overall, this a strong piece of cinema and a great character study that is very grounded in reality. I’m giving it four stars, even if I won’t rush to sit through it again. The french are clearly leading the way in queer cinema. plus s’il vous plaît…
My rating: ★★★★☆