Friday, June 9, 2017

Blue is the Warmest Color (2013) - Foreign Film Friday

Number Rolled: 7
Movie Name/Year: Blue is the Warmest Color (2013)
Tagline: None
Genre: Drama, Romance
Length: 179 minutes
Rating: NC-17
Production Companies: Quat'sous Films, Wild Bunch, France 2 Cinéma, Scope Pictures, Vértigo Films, Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF), Canal+, Ciné+, France 2 (FR2), Eurimages, Région Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC), Pictanovo Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France Télévision, Le Tax Shelter du Gouvernement Fédéral de Belgique, Centre du Cinéma et de l'Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Scope Pictures
Producer: Brahim Chioua, Laurence Clerc, Francois Guerrar, Abdellatif Kechiche, Vincent Maraval, Olivier Thery Lapiney
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Writer: Abdellatif Kechiche, Ghalia Lacroix, Julie Maroh
Actors: Lea Seydoux, Adele Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche, Aurelien Recoing, Catherine Salee, Benjamin Siksou, Mona Walravens, Alma Jodorowsky, Jeremie Laheurte, Anne Loiret, Bonit Pilot, Sandor Funtek, Fanny Maurin, Maelys Cabezon, Samir Bella, Tom Hurier, Manon Piette, Quentin Medrinal, Peter Assogbavi, Wisdom Ayanou, Stephane Mercoyrol, Lucie Bibal, Baya Rehaz, Marilyne Chanaud, Camille Rutherford, Michael Skal
Stunt Doubles: None

Blurb from Netflix: Determined to fall in love, 15-year-old Adele is focused on boys. But it’s a blue-haired girl she meets on the street who really piques her interest.

Selina’s Point of View:
We only have a few films on our queue that fall into the NC-17 category, so I don’t really bother to look at the MPAA rating before I start watching. I really regretted that choice here because I had no clue I was walking face-first into a three-hour long porn.

Now, I have no problem with sex scenes in movies. Sometimes they add another layer to the film. I mean, could you imagine American Pie (1999) without the scene where Jason Biggs (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Orange is the New Black, Two for One) gets intimate with some apple filling? Sure, there are more sweet and genuine examples, but my brain stopped working about forty-five minutes ago.

This film didn’t just use sex to elevate the story, though. It made sex the core of the story, and, yes, it was graphic. It earned that NC-17 rating and then some. It was pretty much just an emotional porn… which I feel cheapened the romance between the two main characters.

That’s what I took away from the film.

Technically speaking, it was a beautiful film. But that’s technically speaking. We don’t really rely on that here at Trust the Dice. We don’t write about whether or not a room full of directors and writers would enjoy the film, we want to know if a room full of general audience members would. People who’ve never been to film school.

My thought is that, no, a general audience wouldn’t enjoy this film.

Not only is the movie painfully long, it has very little substance outside of the stereotypical indie flick base. Nothing really gets solved in it and there’s a kind of choppy jumping around feeling to it. I know it was loved at the film festivals, but I can’t connect the movie I just watched to the amount of love I’ve seen for it on the internet.

If I look past the porny quality to it, I can see aspects of Blue is the Warmest Color that I did enjoy. I sound like I’m giving it a hard time, and I am, but I didn’t HATE it. I wouldn’t watch it again, but I acknowledge that it had some decent aspects.

To be fair, I think a lot of the film was lost on me. Bits of literature were brought up here and there, but it was always from books I’d either never heard of or never read. It’s possible that I might have caught more of the planned nuances if I was familiar with that material.

Aside from that, I found it difficult to watch the main actress, Adele Exarchopoulos (Down By Love, Insecure, Voyage vers la mere). She was a beautiful actress and she can perform a crying scene like no one else… but the way the director had her constantly eating with her mouth wide open made me a little ill.

Cat’s Point of View:
Oh geez, where do I start. I know that sounds ominous – and it should.

Before anyone thinks the worst, I don’t think this was a horrible movie. I just simply didn’t enjoy it.

First of all, the whole thing was way too long. I mean, really? Nearly 3 hours is a bit much for something like this. There were so many long and drawn out scenes of practically nothing going on. 

Some of the shots that gave you the characters’ perspectives were interesting – but did we really need all of that? The movement shots following characters walking weren’t your typical spastic shaky-cam but it was almost as bad with all the bobbing around.

It’s said that they filmed over 800 hours of footage and that a significant bit of Adèle Exarchopoulos’ (Pieces of Me, Les Anarchistes, Orphan) were obtained as the cameras kept rolling on her between scenes as she was walking around or eating, etc. This, of course, explains much. 

The filming is said to have been rather intense, so her deer-in-headlights zombie vibe at least makes sense now. Did we have to capture people eating with their mouths open? It is what it is, however.

For all of the issues I have with this movie, there are still good points. Exarchopoulos was believable in her expression of emotion and I absolutely bought in to her connection with Léa Seydoux (Robin Hood, Midnight in Paris, The Grand Budapest Hotel). The film also manages to be a think-piece without being horrendously pretentious – but only barely. There’s a lot of philosophy woven into the tale, but it’s generally legitimately plot driven.

Speaking of plot driven – there’s quite a bit of nudity in the film. It didn’t feel like it was gratuitous, but that NC-17 rating is legitimate and mostly stems from explicit scenes.

All in all, I don’t feel that my time was wasted in watching this movie, and I did find myself grudgingly sucked in to the emotions of the piece. I just don’t think I’d choose this movie for myself if I were looking for something to watch – and I don’t intend to watch it again.

Speech Available: French
Subtitles Available: English

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 91%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 85%
Metascore - 88/100
Metacritic User Score – 7.9/10
IMDB Score – 7.8/10

Trust the Dice: Selina’s Rating2/5
Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating2/5

P.S.  Based on a graphic novel.

Movie Trailer:

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