Movie Review: "Blue is the Warmest Color"

Normally, I am not one who enjoys subtitled movies. This is largely because, most of the time, subtitles can’t directly translate, as many languages include sayings and idioms that wouldn’t make sense in another language. Similarly, grammatical concepts aren’t always fluid between languages which can entirely change the meaning of a sentence. Therefore, I find that one of the pivotal elements of a movie - the carefully chosen words of the playwright- can be omitted from the story’s retelling. However, this movie was recommended to me through a friend and I decided to push past my distaste for subtitled movies and watch the highly acclaimed French film “Blue is the Warmest Color”.

Most who have seen this film will agree that the art of cinematography is used in abundance here, and has no limit to its creativity. The angles, lighting and views were an absolutely stunning depiction of this smaller city in the south of France, as well as the intricacies of the lives of those who inhabited it. One of my favorite moments was in the beginning of the movie when the main character, Adéle, first encountered her soon-to-be lover in the middle of a crowded street on her way to meet a boy. Emma, the blue-haired girl Adéle later falls in love with, has her arm slung across the shoulders of another woman in such a way that is obviously past the intimacy of friends.The moment of sexual confusion and internal turmoil Adéle felt when seeing that two women could be openly happy together was immediately obvious when the camera blurred and only showed Emma’s blue hair. In addition, the rough terrain of the beginnings of their relationship is displayed in their first encounter as Emma takes Adéle’s stares as disapproval of her relationship. In response, she sneers at Adéle and Adéle stands awestruck in the middle of a crowded intersection. The viewer can only see what Adéle sees as the entire world blurs around. Other than the explicit use of cinematography to relay emotion, I also loved this scene because it so accurately depicted the emotion one might feel when something that seemed so dangerous could be truly possible.

I felt that the beginning of their relationship was well thought out and showed a clear passion. Their intimacy was palpable before they even touched each other. Hence, I felt that the constant montage of sex scenes was a tad redundant. Although I do feel that some of them were necessary to the continuity of the storyline, I felt that many of them did not have to be as long or as graphic as the movie portrayed them. At the same time, I understand the value of showing such raw moments on film for the audience to experience, but I still felt that time from the three hour movie could have easily been cut off if the director had simply shortened or minimized the amount of sex scenes in the movie. The message of same-sex love being equally intimate as straight love could have been better portrayed through more moments of tenderness rather than an almost carnivorous drive for sex.

Second, Due to the fact that it was a three hour movie, scenes seemed to happen over and over again instead of adding something new to the plot. There were moments that portrayed an explicit change in emotion or plot, but I found that the portrayal of their relationship lacked the substance I was looking for. Although this did not affect their on-screen intimacy, I still would have liked a closer look into specific stages of their relationship.

Another element that bothered me about this movie was that I was never completely sure of the passage of time. There were rarely any indications as to how far along the two were in their relationship when certain events took place. There were some distinct milestones that I was able to pick up on, but, all in all, I felt that the passage of time wasn’t completely clear.

In the end I thought that the movie had many beautiful moments, such as the one I described above and many more. However, I found that many elements, most due to the length of the movie, plateaued my interest after the first hour. Maybe it’s just me that doesn’t really enjoy long movies. I don’t know. That’s for you to decide.

- Olivia

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