One of the most controversial subjects in film today is the Motion Pictures Association of America, or the MPAA. They are the company that rate each film for American audiences, from the innocent G to the mature NC-17. The corporation has been under fire a lot recently, due to the fact that they largely let very violent films pass with a PG-13, but films with two swears and some nudity are rated R. This easy-going nature about violence has always rubbed me the wrong way, as most PG-13 films are far too violent for the audience they are intended for, while nudity and sex is considered wildly inappropriate compared to violence.
A film suffering from the wrath of the ignorant MPPA is Blue is the Warmest Color, which is one of the rare films to receive the infamous NC-17, due to some explicit sex scenes. Not only has the film gone under fire from the MPAA, but also one of its stars. Star of the film Adele Exarchopoulos has came out criticizing director Abdellatif Kechiche for pushing the actors to far, starting a feud between the two. It’s a shame this has happened, because all this controversy is covering up a really good flick.
Blue is the Warmest Color follows Adele, a teenager whose life changes when she meets Emma, a college art student. The two fall for each other, and their relationship affects each others’ lives as they grow.
Awards Season is here, and aside from a few minor festivals, the performances in the film are really not getting their due. Adele Exarchopoulos arguably gives the best performance not only of the film, but for the year as a whole. As an audience, you really feel Adele’s joy and pain, from her big uproarious moments, to her subtle facial expressions. She really commands the screen, and at the age of 20, that is an impressive achievement in itself.
Although she was the highlight, her costar Lea Seydoux did an equally as good job. Seydoux, while not being quite as subtle as Exarchopoulous, mainly because the character doesn’t call for that, adds so much passion into her role. Seydoux does a pitch-perfect job of really displaying the emotions that she has to show, conveying them in a rough, but natural way. The rest of the cast featuring mainly unknown French actors does a great job.
Perhaps the best quality about the film is its naturalism. Director and writer Abdellatif Kechiche made all the efforts needed to achieve this. Kechiche had the cast only read the script once, forcing them to make up lines on the spot. Also, Kechiche had the actors cut off each other while talking. These little small touches really add to the movie, making every moment of this film just very realistic and natural.
The film itself also has a great emotional core. These two leads have such passion and love for each other, and that is conveyed excellently. There is a connection here between the audience and the film, as you can feel for these characters through all of their struggles and triumphs. The concepts of love are very much something that any ordinary person can relate to, due to how real and alive they are.
When hearing this is a three hour foreign film, most people’s stomachs’ turn, guessing this will be a hard watch. In all honesty, this film is very engaging, making its three hour running time really fly by like a breeze. Due to the fact these characters and their drama are so interesting, it’s easy to just get lost in the film, which is an impressive accomplishment for a three hour-long film.
Another plus in the film is the passion behind it. You can tell that director Abdellatif Kechiche really did infuse a great deal of passion and raw emotion into the film. Although, it seems like the root of some of this film’s problems come within this passionate direction.
While it’s great Kechiche gives the film passion, it feels at times like he put too much into the film, over-directing some of the film’s themes. Most of the film does feel very realistic, but these certain moments really took me out of the movie, especially the infamous sex scene.
If you did not know, this movie has around 12 minutes of lesbian sex. That could be a good way to show the passion of these characters, but it largely feels overdone and just disingenuous. It felt like these were people getting paid to have sex, instead of just regular people.
A more minor complaint: the story as a whole felt slightly predictable. While this movie is certainly more about its characters than story, halfway through the film I guessed the ending of the film correctly. The book had a very much different ending, so it’s odd to see them instead take a very traditional rout with the third act.
Despite being overdone and a bit familiar, Blue is the Warmest Color is one of the most sincere romance films in a great while, that certainly deserves a watch. It certainly deserves the great word of mouth behind it.
Take a Drink: for each sensual moment (you might die).
Take a Drink: during the sex scenes.
Do a Shot: each time these characters have pasta, watch the carbs!