For my March Blindspot series pick I chose something recent to shake things up. Blue Is the Warmest Colour is a French movie from 2013, which won big at the Cannes’ film festival and made waves in the blogging community.
As much as I enjoy French movies, the sheer length of Blue Is the Warmest Colour scared the hell out of me. Three hours? I can barely make it through movies that are over two hours but here I was watching something for three. To be honest, the movie did drag by the end of it and part of me will always wonder if it could have had a bigger impact during a shorter screen time.
Blue Is the Warmest Colour at its core is a coming-of-age story told through romance and friendship. At the center we have Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), who at the beginning of the film struggles with her sexual identity. She has an encounter with a boy, but soon realises he isn’t able to satisfy her. Soon after she meets a blue haired girl she once saw crossing the street – whom she had an instant connection with. That girl turns out to be Emma (Léa Seydoux).
The middle part of the movie focuses on the romance between the two girls. This part relies heavily on the chemistry between the two women. Luckily, there is no denying of the fact that Exarchopoulos and Seydoux have a connection, which allows their relationship to shine. There are also two explicit lesbian sex scenes in the movie and I thought they were too much. I also didn’t really understand why two of these scenes were needed to convey their strong sexual compatibility. It’s almost as if the movie limited their relationship to sex to distract us from the fact that without it, there is not a lot of development between the two.
“I am happy. I’m happy with you, like this. It’s my way of being happy.”
Third act takes us to the near future were these two women are living together. Adèle is working as a teacher and Emma is an artist. They have a rocky relationship and Adèle, at times, feels insecure. She sees Emma flirt with another woman and spirals out of control. She goes out and has an affair with a man. For me, it makes sense for Adèle to find comfort from a man, since she, at the time, was seeking for a superficial connection and wanted nothing serious. At the same time, the movie proposes an idea that Adèle is yet not clear of her sexual identity.
When Emma finds out, she ends their relationship. They meet up later on, make up and part as friends. In the end, Adèle visits Emma’s art exhibition but walks out after she sees Emma happy with another woman. But its the length of the movie that makes the ending feel anti-climatic. By this time, we know how things are going to end, we have witnessed Emma’s anger and Adèle’s insecurities. And we know that while their relationship was beautiful, and it made them both happy sexually, it wasn’t a healthy relationship for either of them.
Finally, I do want to add that I’m glad that I watched Blue Is the Warmest Colour. What I’m not happy about is its length, the superficial feel of the relationship and the anti-climatic ending. And while I think Call Me By Your Name is a much more beautiful movie, there is similar beauty in between the lines of Blue Is the Warmest Colour. It is just a little muddled and lost.