Blue is the Warmest Colour was absolutely masterful. Alternating between funny, heartfelt, and haunting, the tale resonated long into the night, and left me completely devastated. In short, it was one of the finest experiences of text and drawings ever put to page. Of course, this was my experience with the graphic novel by Julie Maroh, recently published in English, and released in Canada. The film Blue is The Warmest Colour was far more problematic.
However, there is one great reason to see the film, and that is for the star, Adèle Exarchopoulos. Despite being billed as a love story between its two female leads, the film belongs to Exarchopoulos. Lea Seydoux is fine as Emma, but does not command the same presence, as clearly this is Adèle’s story, (the main character also being named Adèle, despite having the moniker Clementine in the graphic novel.)
The story itself has been slightly misconstrued by earlier reviewers. Billed as a lesbian coming-of-age story, the fact that Adèle voyages into the sapphic terrain does not make this a story about a same-sex couple. In fact, Adèle does not seem to a have a gender preference of sexual partners. This clumsy metaphor seems to be shown through Adèle’s voracious appetite for food, as she is often depicted by director Abdellatif Kechiche eating spaghetti, gyros, and despite her initial reluctance for it, a plate of oysters, (see: clumsy metaphor). In fact, it is not even clear that Adèle chooses to live the lifestyle, only that, like in the graphic novel, Emma and her blue hair entrance the lust-for-life Adèle to fully indulge in her carnality.
Are the as promised sex scenes as focused on the male gaze as previously reported? Yes, I found them to be them to be a little bit too much at times. I believe that the film will not appeal to women, at least to those that do not want such an intimate look at a young girl.
In fact, a major issue that I had with Blue is the Warmest Colour is that a sense of intimacy is forced upon the watcher in almost every scene of the film, not just the moments set in the boudoir. Adèle is portrayed as sleeping fairly often, sometimes to no great effect. Often she is shown crying, fixing her hair, showering and dressing, as mentioned, eating, a sense of intimacy could have been achieved in more subtle fashions.
The intimacy affects the viewing experience. Kechiche places the camera too close to the actors. Perhaps if he had pulled back a little, the sense of intimacy could have been achieved more organically, as it does in the graphic novel.