Monday, 30 March 2015

Blue Is the Warmest Color

Lowdown: A teenager “finds herself” as she grows into an adult.
I took note of 2013’s Blue Is the Warmest Color (or rather, La Vie d'Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2 as per its original French title) for a rather weird reason. The reason was to do with the harsh treatment its stars had received from director Abdellatif Kechiche. According to him, he was trying to elicit the finest performance he could. According to me, given what I read, his approach was rather inhumane. Still, I was curious; it’s not like the stars were held against their will or anything illegal.
The movie tracks the life of teenager Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) over the course of several years of her life and three hours of the viewer’s life. At the beginning, she is a high school girl going through the social routine of high school girls. A boy is interested in her, they get together, they have sex, but it doesn’t work for Adèle. However, walking through the streets of what seems to be her northern France hometown, she sees this girl with blue hair, and that girl really interests Adèle.
Eventually, the two do get to meet at a gay bar. Adèle learns the subject of her interest is Emma (Léa Seydoux), a woman senior to her by a few years, an art student, and an out of the closet lesbian with a partner. The two can’t resist one another and a proper relationship develops, affecting the lives of both characters.
Blue Is the Warmest Color’s claim to fame is its realism. In order to achieve that, the handheld camera tends to drift right in front of the actors' faces. Unless there is music playing where the actors happen to be at, there is no soundtrack; it’s all real.
Probably the elements most people will remember out of this movie are the sex scenes, which are also made to look real. As in, authentic. Let me be straight about it: These are hard to watch. It’s not your typical Hollywood, clearly made up, clearly artificial, blanket over the private parts type sex scenes; it’s full on. And it’s not like porn, designed to create arousal in the viewer; this is real life like. Personally, it was quite hard for me to sit and watch other people having sex, and given the frequency, length and depth of these scenes the whole experience of watching Blue Is the Warmest Color proved quite tough.
However, if authenticity is what you’re seeking, then Blue Is the Warmest Color certainly delivers. It tackles themes such as a woman finding herself in the world, sexuality (particularly of the LGBT type), relationships, age differences, and even class differences. Yes, the movie is too long for its own good, yet it does deliver a well made document on what all of those mean for a girl growing up in today’s world.
Overall: Let me repeat myself and state Blue Is the Warmest Color is not an easy movie to watch. If your guts allow you to endure it, though, you will be rewarded with a very straight forward film (pun intended) worth 3 out of 5 crabs.

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