Starring: Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Running Time: 179 mins
Blue Is The Warmest Colour (La Vie d’Adèle, Chapitres 1 et 2) is a French film about a young high school girl, Adèle, who meets a woman a few years older than her. As their relationship grows, Adèle begins to rapidly mature into a strong woman as she experiences love and loss with her partner.
This is a highly acclaimed film amongst critics and other film makers, as well as many fans who have enjoyed it as a passionate love story that goes beyond what normal romantic dramas do. And whilst that is true, I feel that it goes way too far with a story that even from the start isn’t as captivating as it could be, and despite the two strong central performances, this is a three hour-long slog that is almost never actually engrossing.
Before we get into that, however, let’s just talk about what is easily the best part of the movie, the performances. Playing a 15 year old girl going through a hugely important coming of age, Adèle Exarchopoulos does a great job at portraying the emotional turmoil that her character is feeling as her life begins to go into this tumultuous stage, as well as showing her clear maturing and development over the course of the story as a result of everything that goes on.
Also, Léa Seydoux is excellent in the secondary role as the older woman, Emma (not Mrs. Robinson sort of age, but about 22 years old at the start). Her character, particularly in the eyes of Adèle, is an illusive enchantress, a free-thinking spirit that draws her towards her, and Seydoux shows that off very well in her performance, making Adèle’s attraction to her all the more believable.
However, apart from the performances, I found very little to be properly interested in in this movie, and the main reason for that is clearly the running time. This film has almost no excuse for being three full hours long. It covers a few years in these women’s lives, but it’s not like the best epics which pick from parts throughout the whole story; this is just one end of a story, a few weeks when they’re younger, and then the other, a few weeks when they’re older.
As a result, way too much time is spent on small details that just don’t matter at all to the story. We know, from the performance, how Adèle is feeling in this situation, but the film drags on through tons of ten-minute long dialogue scenes intending to tell you what you can already see, and what’s worse is that they’re plagued with seemingly endless silences, and as such it was way too easy for me to lose interest in what was happening.
Finally, the way that the film actually deals with the subject of the lesbian relationship isn’t particularly interesting either. There are two scenes in the movie that do show the extreme opposition in modern society to them, and they work fantastically, but apart from that, there’s very little commentary on what the film wants to show, which is the taboo nature of their relationship, meaning that the film feels very unfocussed. Instead, we get these ridiculously graphic and overlong sex scenes between Adèle and Emma that add nothing to that idea, and make this even more dull to watch.
Overall, I’ll give Blue Is The Warmest Colour a 6.2, because despite the strong performances, it really doesn’t succeed in giving you a consistently interesting story over its three hours, and is instead simply very, very boring to watch.