courtesy photoAdèle Exarchopoulos is outstanding in “Blue Is the Warmest Color

courtesy photoAdèle Exarchopoulos is outstanding in “Blue Is the Warmest Color

3-hour ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ is sexy and soulful

The top prize winner at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color” is a nearly three-hour, NC-17-rated movie about the pleasures of sex — and the pleasures of food, smoking and discussing philosophy.

At some level, it seems to be an American’s fantasy of what life in France might be like. But it’s also very realistic and focused on two believable, soulful characters.

In a truly remarkable performance that makes viewers feel her character’s fear, doubt and excitement, newcomer Adèle Exarchopoulos stars as Adèle, who ages from a high school student to a grown-up second-grade teacher in the course of the film.

Adèle is trying to decide if she’s interested in boys. She has a date and tries sex with one boy at school, but something is missing.

Meanwhile, she passes by a mysterious and alluring blue-haired girl in the street. They spot each other and can’t stop staring.

Emma, the blue-haired girl (the terrific Léa Seydoux of “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol” and “Farewell, My Queen”), is only a little older than Adèle, but she exudes experience and wisdom. She has been with lots of girls, and went through her “Sartre phase” in high school.

Before long the movie’s piece de resistance arrives: the sex scene, an amazingly passionate and erotic sequence showing the women in a joyous, orgasmic exploration of each other’s bodies.

When the girls meet each other’s parents, the story teeters close to the Hollywood romantic-comedy “lie” plot, since Emma is “out” and Adèle is still in the closet. Thankfully, in the second half, the action takes place many months later. Emma has become a successful artist (the blue hair is gone) and Adèle is a teacher.

They live together and seem mostly happy. But they run into the first roadblock of their relationship.

In addition to offering his luxurious explorations of character, director Kechiche — who co-wrote the screenplay, which is based on a comic by Julie Maroh — repeats and mirrors moments or sounds: Adèle marching in a protest parade mirrors a gay pride parade with Emma, which mirrors a dance performance with Adèle’s students. The different moods clash poetically.

With its lengthy running time and taboo-busting subject matter, the film is of the type that attracts awards. Yet it’s less an important movie than just a really good one — very deeply emotional, well-acted and filled with human nuance. And sexy, too.

REVIEW

Blue Is the Warmest Color

Starring Léa Seydoux, Adèle Exarchopoulos

Written by Abdellatif Kechiche, Ghalia Lacroix

Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche

Rated NC-17

Running time 2 hours, 59 minutesAbdellatif KechicheAdèle ExarchopoulosartsBlue Is The Warmest ColorMovies

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Temporary high-occupancy vehicle lanes will be added to sections of state Highway 1 and U.S. Highway 101 through The City including Park Presidio Boulevard to help keep transit flowing as traffic increases. (Photo by Ekevara Kitpowsong/Special to S.F. Examiner)
Transit and high-occupancy vehicle lanes coming to some of The City’s busiest streets

Changes intended to improve transit reliability as traffic increases with reopening

Demonstrators commemorated the life of George Floyd and others killed by police outside S.F. City Hall on June 1, 2020.<ins></ins>
Chauvin verdict: SF reacts after jury finds ex-officer guilty on all charges

San Franciscans were relieved Tuesday after jurors found a former Minneapolis police… Continue reading

San Francisco Unified School District Board member Faauuga Moliga, right, pictured with Superintendent Vincent Matthews on the first day back to classrooms, will be board vice president for the remander of the 2121 term. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faauuga Moliga named as school board vice president to replace Alison Collins

The San Francisco school board on Tuesday selected board member Fauuga Moliga… Continue reading

Legislation by Supervisor Rafael Mandelman would require The City to add enough new safe camping sites, such as this one at 180 Jones St. in the Tenderloin, to accomodate everyone living on the street. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City would create sites for hundreds of tents under new homeless shelter proposal

Advocates say funding better spent on permanent housing

An instructor at Sava Pool teaches children drowning prevention techniques. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Indoor city pools reopen for lap swimming and safety classes

Two of San Francisco’s indoor city pools reopened Tuesday, marking another step… Continue reading

Most Read