tue 23/04/2024

LFF 2013: Blue Is the Warmest Colour | reviews, news & interviews

LFF 2013: Blue Is the Warmest Colour

LFF 2013: Blue Is the Warmest Colour

One fine relationship film with explicit lesbian sex for frills

Adèle Exarchopolous and Léa Seydoux portray young lovers in Blue Is The Warmest Colour

Go for the lesbian sex, leave knowing relationships are all the same: that's the nutshell of French-Tunisian director Abdellatif Kechiche's explicit, intimate and lengthy drama Blue Is the Warmest Color (aka Le Vie D’Adèle), the Palme d’Or winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

Based on Julie Maroh’s 2010 graphic novel of the same name – itself akin to Pierre de Marivaux’s La Vie de Marianne (famous in French schools for the vivid voice of its female narrator, the unfinished novel is mentioned early in the film), Kechiche’s sympathetic feature stars Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos whose remarkable performances here have made them les fixtures erotiques du jour.

Solidly scripted by the director and Ghalya Lacroix (who also helped edit), this Bildungsroman shows that the buds of first lust/love are the same for everyone – who you click with is who you click with, obtacles notwithstanding. While it is easy to identify Blue with graphic sex, it succeeds as a fine relationship film, told unflinchingly as well as with an eye for the quotidian: not everything in relationships is orgasmic, even when the couple are young, hot lesbians. The quality and consistency of the drama's acting and storytelling keeps it from predictability, pretense or smugness.

Adèle (Exarchopolous) is 17 and interested in everything – she likes literature and gladly discusses philosophy any old time. As we see her working-class family gobble down her father’s bolognese with a gusto verging on crass, we know she’s a bright number ready to be shaped by the next relationship. Emma (Seydoux), a sprite with blue hair, catches Adèle's eye. Their relationship soon has her lying to parents and friends, the latter culminating in a schoolyard brawl (the clip seen in most trailers - see overleaf). Their relationship goes through many stages but it is that first big sex scene that's caused a hubbub, sending thoughts of “is that scissoring or what?” and “gosh, that looks like hard work” zipping through the audience's mind. It’s at least 10 minutes, perhaps longer, but daring enough to show straight couples that lesbian sex is just like the sex they have at home.

Blue is a story of love, obsession, class conflict and sex with subtler home truths lurking throughout. When Adèle makes her father's bolognese for Emma's arty party, the food is popular but you can see it isn't chic enough. Ultimately, Emma has to transform herself into someone else to be a success while Adèle’s burgeoning intellect stalls when she works in her chosen profession. That's a bit of a spoiler, true, but it won’t ruin anything for those who don’t fancy sitting through 175 minutes of relationship drama. For the many who will find Blue engrossing, that sentence sums up the core of the film: who you stay with is who best suits the future you.

Watch the trailer to Blue Is the Warmest Colour overleaf


It’s at least 10 minutes, perhaps longer, but daring enough to show straight couples that lesbian sex is just like the sex they have at home


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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