Blue Is The Warmest Colour is based on a graphic novel. That may sound strange given it’s normally superheroes, serial killers or gangsters who appear in the comic medium but what worked for a frisky Tamara Drewe more than works for this coming of age love story.
Winner of The Cannes Film Festival, seeped in controversy (surrounding the director’s dealings with cast and crew) not to mention sexual politics and Blue Is The Warmest Colour comes with a hefty bit of baggage to it. But forget that, all of it, throw-it out with any other preconceptions that lurk in the back of you mind and embrace what is, at heart, one of modern cinema’s most beautiful, honest and poetic love stories.
Crossing the street on day Adèle’s (Adèle Exarchopoulos) life is turned on its head when she sees Emma (Léa Seydoux), a blue haired girl whose confidence and smile awakens something in Adèle that she was not prepared for. Briefly entering into a relationship with a boy at her school she soon realises that Emma remains in her thoughts. Struggling with her sexual desires she runs in to Emma while on a night out and, while being ostracized from her friends at school for her sexuality, the pair embark on a passionate relationship. Over the years Adèle’s passion for Emma never wanes but it soon becomes clear that Emma has interests outside of their relationship and her focus on her art causes Adèle to drift as the pair begin to comprehend how different they are.
Adèle is an outsider throughout the film. She’s a girl always sitting on the periphery of her chosen social group. At school she’s the quiet one, in with the cool kids but some how not a full on Mean Girl. Once entering into Emma’s circle of friends she finds herself welcomed with open arms but feels ignorant in engaging them in the special subject of art. Even with her parents Adèle keeps her sexuality quiet, refusing to introduce Emma as her girlfriend while Emma’s parents, by stark contrast, toast to their love.
But we remain part of Adèle’s inner sanctum; director Abdellatif Kechiche’s style is delicate, intimate and at times voyeuristic. Played with innocent charm and a wonderfully uninhabited honesty by Adèle Exarchopoulos it’s easy to understand why Emma is so drawn to Adèle’s charms. With her ever and tossed hair and food shoveling ways Adèle is a fallen angel with a fiery temperament. Emma meanwhile is a passionate artist, always anxious to hear peoples’ thoughts on all things culture related. Léa Seydoux imbues her with a sense of cool, a girl who wants to draw Adèle out of herself, to inspire her the way she has been a muse in her paintings. The Cannes Film Festival Jury of 2013 should be rightly applauded for awarding the Palme d’Or to both actresses and director. It’s hard to imagine Blue being as magical if just one of these elements had not been involved.
While Batman and Superman might have their Crash, Bang, Whallop, Blue Is The Warmest Colour is a comic book adaptation that will make your heart go BOOM, BOOM, BOOM. Heart melting, honest and able to illicit more emotion than most films dare Blue certainly is The Warmest Colour.