I have only read a handful of negative reviews of the 2013 Palme d’Or winning Blue Is The Warmest Colour. This french film has had a glorious reception and has remained one of the most discussed and anticipated films of the year. The film tells the story of Adele, a confused and vulnerable student. When we first meet Adele she is still at school. Struggling with an inner battle over her sexuality, she tries to cover up her true feelings and urges with boyfriends and banter. The story progresses gradually as we follow Adele into her first lesbian relationship. The film attempts to show the addiction of our first loves and the consuming atmosphere of a passionate relationship. I say ‘attempts’ because, for me, the film completely failed. A grand three hours in length, Blue Is The Warmest Colour spans over several years and shows the protagonist developing and maturing, experiencing love, lust and loss. Yet, there was little depiction of true love here. When you consider that Amour won Cannes Film Festival’s greatest award the year before, it is surprising to me that the award has gone to a film with such little romantic depth. Blue Is The Warmest Colour is not a bad film, just a very, very dull one.
Irritating characters wander from scene to scene, grotesquely eating with their mouths full and refusing to brush their greasy hair. The relationship between Adele and the blue haired Emma is frivolous and shallow. Based on attraction alone, both seem happy enough to betray previous lovers and ultimately each other. Perhaps I am missing the whole point of the film but their selfishness distanced me. One scene towards the end of the film takes place in a cafe. I was very aware that I was supposed to be crying during this scene but I felt nothing except desperation to pass Adele a tissue so she could wipe up her snotty tears. It is hard to care about two such self consumed individuals. The performances are very good but they are not enough to make this film worth sitting through. There has been a lot of discussion surrounding the sex scenes in this film. This is one aspect of the film that has been reviewed negatively by the majority. I was expecting to see more of these scenes after hearing so much discussion about them. The problem is the chemistry between the two actresses. The scenes are awkward and uncomfortable and far too animalistic. There are not that many of these scenes but the ones we do see drag on and on, possibly trying to say something profound but appearing perverted and intrusive. They felt unnecessary and contributed little to this story that is made up of so little already.
The film moves across time in a very clunky way. At one point three years pass unnoticed and it takes the discussion of the characters to make you realise this has happened. The school girls who once tormented Adele are long gone, making the character’s social struggle lose its importance. The film gets weaker as it progresses. The earlier stages of the film are painful and full of interesting discussion and reaction. Once Emma enters the story I found myself repeatedly glancing at my watch. As the film came to a meaningless end I realised I’d spent the last hour simply looking for the colour blue in the costumes and surrounding. Blue Is The Warmest Colour is far too waffly for me. It is possible I’ve missed the point of the film but I struggled to see the importance of this film within contemporary gay, world and art house cinema.
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