There is a lot to like about Blue is the Warmest Color — winner of this year’s highest prize at Cannes, and a lot not to like. I was generally absorbed by the drama, following the lead character Adèle into and out of her various relationships. But I also had problems with it.
The actress Adèle Exarchopoulos, who plays the character Adèle, cries a lot in this movie, but I began to tire of all the phlegm. Phlegm is great once, but after that it’s like the boy who called wolf — we don’t need to cringe at seeing it a second or third time. There is also a lot of sex in this movie, but I don’t think it’s overused as is the crying. The sex is the main point of the film after all. All of it is performed, along with all the other action, with raw, almost shocking reality.
I’m on the fence with this one. On one hand, it reminded me a little of the last French film I saw, Holy Motors — it never really gets out of gear. I also took issue with its lack of rounding out a complete world for Adèle. And I don’t appreciate the way it’s marketed — it’s title in French translates to The Life of Adèle – Chapters 1 & 2 — kind of a boring title, and there aren’t two chapters here, there’s anywhere from three to six. But the reason I have a problem with the title is it misleads; it speaks to the promise of more than this movie delivers.
To understand why I have a problem with this movie, compare it to the terrific Sleeping Beauty. I know we are not going down such a fascinating path as that film, but still I expect more. Blue is too one-note. With its 3-hour run time, another good comparison is the Lars von Trier masterpiece Breaking the Waves — an exercise to sit through, but with titan rewards.
On the positive side, Blue did keep me engaged for the entire picture — no easy task for a film so long. And it does have a certain lyric rhythm — I especially liked it when Adèle protests and dances. Besides winning at Cannes, Blue has received a lot of praise. For me, the strengths of the film don’t overcome the fact that it never comes together as complete story. 5/10 but your results may vary.