Blue is the Warmest Color Movie Review
Deep down inside Blue is the Warmest Color is a great two-hour movie. Unfortunately, the movie is three hours long.
Blue is the Warmest Color is the critically acclaimed Palme d'Or winner of Cannes about a confused teenage girl who falls in love and lust with a blue-haired lesbian. Director Abdellatif Kechiche explores the power of their relationship and what it means to commit fully to love, even if misguided.
He also shows what lesbian sex entails with several near-pornographic sex scenes.
The first 45 minutes of the movie are deeply engaging, with Adele (Adèle Exarchopoulos) struggling with her sexuality. The movie fires on all cylinders as Kechiche takes a deep dive into the mind of his protagonist; Exarchopoulos delivers one of the best performances of the year with a nuanced, soft-spoken demeanor that expresses her confused state and conflicting emotions.
And then, for whatever reason, I got bored. At first, the developing bond between Adele and Emma (played superbly by Léa Seydoux) is intriguing, even intoxicating, but the story reaches its breaking point as it progresses to the next phase of their relationship. Scene by scene, Blue is the Warmest Color is terrific, but together they form a long, bloated production that exposes Kechiche's weakness: an inability to say what needs to be said in the shortest time necessary.
Kechiche has the technical talent and ability to be great (well, based on what I saw in this one movie), but the best directors know how to be concise and convey emotions, thematic elements and story devices in a short amount of time. Kechiche drags things on for what feels like ten hours, hammering home detail after detail that do not need to be hammered home.
One of the most pivotal scenes in the movie is a dinner party sequence where Adele meets Emma's friends for the first time. Within a minute you figure out what Kechiche is trying to say, and yet the scene seems to go on for 20 minutes. ‘Unnecessary', ‘annoying' and ‘brain sucking' come to mind. It is excruciating long, and there is simply no excuse to make up for Kechiche's unwillingness to edit.
The controversial sex scenes didn't bother me, though they are unnecessarily long and pretty detailed. What was more troublesome and/or humorous - and maybe this was just my bored mind making things up - was that Blue is the Warmest Color, as dramatic and emotional as it is, starts to feel like a conduit for the director's own fantasies. Two beautiful women having rough sex. Lots of nudity. Adele playing a hot, sexually repressed teacher. And is she really a lesbian, or just a good girl gone bad? Kechiche seems to relish in these elements, but has masked them well with a serious and sincere story about love.
Again, maybe those were just delusions of a delirious, wandering mind.
Blue is the Warmest Color is a movie that is receiving tremendous praise, but the movie didn't work for me. As good as it is on a technical level, and as well acted as it is, the movie becomes mind-numbingly boring after a while. There is no reason why Adele's story couldn't have been told in two hours; stretched to three, I was ready to follow the eight (yes, I counted) people who walked out of the screening partway through.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.