Sunday, 23 October 2016

Sexy Film Reviews: Blue is the Warmest Colour

Please do not read this review if you do not wish to know plot developments
Overall, this is a beautifully made and very engaging film detailing a young woman’s exploration of her sexuality.

I initially wanted to see it because I’m a bit of a Léa Seydoux fan, and she was certainly very good in this film as Emma of the delicious blue hair, but it was without doubt Adèle Exarchopoulos (previously unknown to me) as the central character Adèle who really commanded centre stage.

An incredibly charismatic and accomplished actor, Exarchopoulos held the camera’s attention with apparent ease throughout this lengthy three hour film, conjuring a luminous and poignant performance masterfully revealing the character’s inner thoughts to the viewer with her assuredly warm presence and the subtlest of richly nuanced glances. It was a delight to watch her face guiding us through the character’s journey and I’ll certainly be looking out for more of her work.

But of course with all technically and artistically successful movies, collaboration is the key, and consistent quality is required from every department to make it work, in front of the camera and behind it. And Blue Is the Warmest Colour is a perfect example of this fundamental but mysterious movie-making chemistry bonding perfectly. All the acting was very good, without an off-note in any of the performances. The script was unassuming, lively and clever. I found the direction of Abdellatif Kechiche to be particularly adroit with its unobtrusive and engaging vision allowing us to really enter and be immersed in the on-screen world. And the beautifully lit, deeply hued and warmly textured cinematography of Sofian El Fani was a perpetual treat for the eyes.

The story itself was a warm and revelatory immersion in the main character’s inner, very private odyssey, spiritual, sexual, emotional and social, through the duration of a particular section of her life. I felt it worked very well and found the film intelligent and thought-provoking. I was left with numerous questions, but not in an unsatisfactory and frustrating sense. Rather, it was a sense of thoughtful reflection and curiosity about the character, about myself, about the times we live in, the nature of self-discovery and how we each of us navigate important relationships. Yes, I really do think it is this successful and strong a piece of cinema.

For me, the scenes of sexual intimacy did not feel at all out of place or superfluous. Personally, I thought they were beautifully executed in harmony with the rest of the film’s exploratory narrative and appeared to me to be intrinsic to showing the central character free and connected at a profound level.

Okay, so let me mention a few problems I had. In retrospect, nothing major, to be honest.

Firstly, it was undeniably beautiful to look at, but was perhaps just a little too lingering sometimes. I really don’t mind slow paced movies, but I think the pace could possibly have picked up occasionally here. Very minor point.

Secondly, I found the narrative a bit jumpy from school to adult employment. I had to do a bit of a ‘hold on a second’ to catch up.

Thirdly, I felt a little cheated by the retrospective revelation of Adèle’s infidelity with the guy we had seen her hanging out with. I’m not at all sure about this now, and I might change my mind on repeat viewings and conclude this is not actually problematic at all, but it was a problem for me at the time.

Perhaps my sense of feeling cheated by the narrative is precisely what the director intended me as a viewer to feel. I did wonder, though, as the film is showing us Adèle’s story, whether it might not have been more fitting to follow the experience of her diversion through the infidelity as it happened instead of only learning of it afterwards. It was as if we were following Adèle’s story only to suddenly discover we had been excluded from a significant part of it.

As I say, I’m not sure. Maybe the director got it absolutely right, maybe the impact of the revelation needed to hit us exactly as it did. I don’t know, but it bothered me a little at the time. Not enough, however, to diminish in my eyes to any degree whatsoever the very great stature of this film.

It is a marvelous film: beautifully made, warm, tender, truly sensual, fascinating and though-provoking.
Reuben’s Rating: 9/10

Internet Movie Database

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