Blue is the Warmest Colour DVD Review
Reviewed by Jordan Smith.
Here is one award season film that I missed. Everyone was raving about it and many critics had it on their ‘best of 2013’ lists. It also won a few awards for ‘best foreign film’ or ‘best film not in the English language’. I hadn’t heard too much about it until around November time and I had always intended to watch it but it never really made enough noise or piqued my interest enough for it to really appear on my radar. The inner bit of the radar I mean. I’d heard of it so it was ‘on my radar’, so to speak. Anyway, all these months later I decided to give it a watch now that it’s started jumping onto iTunes and DVD and Blu-Ray and such.
Blue is the Warmest Colour is a romantic-drama film that was written by (get ready for the influx of French names that I couldn’t memorise or spell to save my life) Abdellatif Kechiche and Ghalia Lacroix. The film was also directed by Abdellatif Kechiche. The film tells the story of a girl named Adele and her relationship with a girl named Emma over the period of something like seven years; though I’m not sure because it never specifies how old she is by the of the film, but at least six years pass that I’m aware of, so there’s that.
It’s incredibly hard for me to not compare this film to Brokeback Mountain because of the number of similarities between the two. The basic premise is similar; the story of two people of the same sex and their relationship over the years. There are obviously a ton of differences beside that but nothing that really changes the story overall. The setting, characters, country, etc – these are all background details. The basic story is the same. The hardship that same sex couples have to overcome in today’s world is there, but with this film it’s far more understated because it’s contemporary and the world is much more knowledgeable than it was back in the sixties, seventies and eighties.
The two lead actresses of the film are fantastic; can’t fault their performances, though I always find it hard to judge an actor when I don’t speak their language. They certainly make me believe that their characters are real though, so that’s the main thing I suppose. There’s an incredible scene between the two about two thirds into the film that displays just how great these actresses are. I hope that they appear in far more films in the future because they’re really very good. The characters are interesting but not particularly so. Adele is quite reserved and she is very happy to teach and keep her artistic side to herself, whereas Emma is very artistic and thinks that artistic talents should be nurtured and shared with the world. Adele is portrayed by Adèle Exarchopoulos and Emma is portrayed by Léa Seydoux.
There is a part of the film where there is a slightly (only slightly) uncomfortable meal with Adele’s parents, where Emma is also present and they do not know about Adele’s sexuality. I thought that this plot thread would go somewhere but it ultimately didn’t. This film really does just focus on Adele and her relationship with her first love. That’s not a bad thing but it’s a bit boring when you sit down to watch a film that’s nearly three hours long. I don’t think that the runtime is too much, but they just didn’t do quite as much as they could have with it.
The directing and cinematography are great. There’s a lot of emphasis on the colour blue. Blue for sadness (lots of mentions of Picasso here), Emma has blue hair and then there’s blue everywhere after Adele first meets Emma and in the third act of the film. The director elected to go for a ‘handheld cam’ look for the film and whereas with The Hunger Games it was overkill and now I can’t stop seeing it every time I watch that film, here it is very understated and handled well so as not to make you feel dizzy or very, very annoyed. Also of note – don’t watch this film on an empty stomach. They shoot a lot of scenes where people slurp down food, specifically spaghetti, and it looks delicious.
This film isn’t bad at all and I can definitely see why critics loved it and it won a fair few awards. But because of the similarities with Brokeback I can’t help but compare it to that film. A film which, for me, was far superior. Blue is the Warmest Colour is decent but not nearly as interesting as Brokeback Mountain. If you want my recommendation for the superior love story, go for Brokeback. But if you are so inclined to watch this film; don’t panic, it’s decent enough.