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Customer Review

215 of 238 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Three hours have never gone by so quickly., December 24, 2013
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This review is from: Blue Is the Warmest Color (Criterion Collection) (DVD)
This is rightly one of the most talked about films of the year, but sometimes for the wrong reasons. Whether the film benefits or not from all the attention being paid to the graphic sex scenes, I don't know, but if you let that stop you from seeing the film you'll be missing one of the most honest and gut-wrenching portrayals of first love ever filmed.

I saw this film in New York City with a dear friend back in November, and we couldn't stop talking about it until she had to catch her flight to Washington the next day. We kept talking about Adele as if she was a real person, hoping the best for her in life. This is the real power of the film, drawing you in to the life of Adele.

Lea Seydoux and Adele Excharpoulos bring an almost divine abandon and fatalism to their performances as the two romantic leads. I think audiences have tended to sentimentalize the relationship between Emma and Adele and put it on a pedestal, but the director makes clear that this is not his viewpoint. It's a very passionate and physical relationship, but there isn't much more to hold it together. This seems to be the point that the director is making with the very graphic and extended sex scenes. Sex nourishes the ravenous Adele, but Emma has more intellectual needs. Thus, beyond the physicality of their relationship, it is not a marriage of equals. A key scene at a party they are hosting underscores the imbalance in their relationship. Watching Adele, who seems content to serve the guests while Emma mingles, I wondered if Adele would be doomed if she stays in this relationship.

The film keeps getting more interesting after this point as it explores Adele's growth as a person. An image that came to my mind during the film is that of a mother bird pushing her fledgling out of the nest. You might know which scene I'm thinking about. After the film's end, during the credits (no spoiler here) we learn that this film was originally titled, "The Life of Adele, Chapters 1 and 2," which is a more mundane title than "Blue Is The Warmest Color," but very revealing in that it explains the themes of the film more accurately. "Blue" puts the focus on the relationship between Adele and Emma, but the story is really about a girl who is just finding herself in the world.

There is so much beautiful imagery in the film. The blue motif, if obvious, is conveyed with the most exquisite touches. For example, there is the now iconic scene where Adele is floating in the water, drowning in a halo of blue. It's an incredibly powerful scene that expresses so much with no words. This film is worth watching over again just to take in the beautiful cinematography. Meanwhile Adele Exarchopoulos, with her pouty lips, appealing overbite, and tangle of unruly hair, is one of the most naturally charismatic and alluring screen presences I've seen in awhile.

And kudos to the director for not stepping back from the NC-17 rating. Artistically, it was the right decision. If you can get past the sex, you might find that this is the best film of 2013.
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Showing 1-10 of 30 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 13, 2014 10:43:03 PM PST
John Nava says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

Posted on Jan 27, 2014 12:29:59 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 27, 2014 12:30:35 AM PST
S. Grayban says:
I love French romance movies. I like they way the producer uses the "in the face" recording -- you don't see that in American movies. The way the French do it shows the raw emotions coming out and you feel as though you are right there experiencing the same emotions -- eventually you forget its a movie when you feel as if you are part of the script.

Adele Exarchopoulos is a fantastic actress.. she plays he roles very good... when she cries she is really crying, its very emotional and can't help but feel the sorrow she is portraying.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2014 3:38:29 PM PST
John Nava says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 28, 2014 6:31:31 PM PST
I would hardly say that any Cassavettes film would be the norm for American cinema. "American movies" is obviously a blanket statement, but it is very standard for most viewers in this day and age to get inundated with how good romantic dramas are supposed to be. Personally, I'd rather watch this again than HUSBANDS or A WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE.

It's really not softcore porn, either. That's also a blanket statement.

The reason this is a Criterion release as opposed to a studio DVD is Criterion purchased the rights to distribute this. You want to complain about that? Complain to Criterion. They have their own website.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 5, 2014 8:41:43 PM PST
Curious Case of Benjamin Button, after one year, went straight to Criterion (another great movie).

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 7, 2014 6:23:28 PM PST
John Nava says:
Maybe I'm wrong but one would think at first glance of the prestigious Criterion that they seek classics, both US and international, or films by important filmmakers even though the particular films may not be "classics" as in the case of Pasolini, for example, as oppose to the simple purchase of a trendy art movie,
American or foreign.

Posted on Feb 13, 2014 12:52:15 PM PST
[Deleted by the author on Sep 9, 2014 8:39:02 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2014 6:51:59 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 13, 2014 6:52:26 PM PST
John Nava says:
NOMMEDEPLUME, do you HONESTLY believe that in 2014, an "anti-gay" film would be nominated for a Golden Globe Award??? Your charge is preposterous!

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2014 8:08:20 PM PST
Nomdefaitour says:
Yes. And racism still exists too.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 13, 2014 10:56:57 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 13, 2014 10:57:19 PM PST
John Nava says:
Answer the question, if it is REALLY "anti-gay," do you HONESTLY believe it would have been nominated for a Golden Globe Award??? Do you really believe the Hollywood Foreign Press is "anti-gay" as you put it???
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