Blue Is the Warmest Color

Blue Is the Warmest Color ★★★★

Everyone has a Blue Is The Warmest Color story to tell. I don't pretend I'm unique in this. But this is my story, these events happened, and they changed me.

July 4, 2014, Hotel in Washington, D.C.: Flight is delayed overnight. This gives me time to rent and preemptively download a few movies on my iPad before the big wedding / Europe trip. Blue Is The Warmest Color is at the top of my list.

July 8, 2014, train headed towards Vienna: Thought about watching this, then decided Before Sunrise was clearly the only appropriate choice. Worth it for the photo op.

July 10, 2014, train from Vienna to Prague: I'm in public, but come on, it's supposed to be a tasteful film and Europe is so liberated. Film begins. Gorgeous framing. Adèle Exarchopoulos is stunningly emotive, which is good because the camera rarely leaves her face. They're in a park, they're kissing, it cuts to that famous scene and...people are watching, I know what this looks like, I have to shut this off. Rental period expires.

July 12, 2014, flight from Prague to Paris: The flight is just long enough to finish the film, and I have a middle seat so it's not like people in the aisles will be watching. Plus, come on, Parisians. They use videos like this to teach their children the primary colors, probably. Start again in the park. They're smoking, they're talking, the colors are so striking here, cut to the famous scene and...my neighbor brushes his shoulder against mine, I can feel his judging eyes on me, I just know it. Try to watch with the iPad under the meal tray, it only looks pornier that way. Shut it off. Rental period expires.

July 15, 2014, flight from Paris to Chicago: Conditions are perfect. The elderly couple next to me are fast asleep, lights are dimmed, we're halfway over the Atlantic. Start again in the park. Warm color palette, refreshingly naturalistic dialogue as they fall in love amidst quintessentially French quantities of cigarette smoke. Cut to the scene. It's a little graphic for prudish American audiences, but quite well done. I'm not getting a sense of male gaze so much as deep, vulnerable passion. It's getting a little heavier, a little more clear what all the needless controversy was about, and -- "Is this your first time visiting Paris, young man?" Nod while frantically shutting the iPad. "My husband and I, we go here every summer, have been for the last 35 years. Usually we just eat wherever the tour group eats, but this time we decided what the heck, let's just do it. So we grabbed lunch at this little bistro, it was called...what was it called, Stan?..." I tuck the iPad away, knowing I will under no condition be finishing the movie in the presence of these lovely people.

July 15, 2014, flight from Chicago to San Francisco: Open the iPad to get some work done, scene immediately resumes with no headphones and loud volume. Promptly shut the iPad. Rental period expires.

July 27, 2014, home in San Francisco: Finish in my living room, having at this point donated $24 to the good folk at Apple. It was a lovely film, and while I do believe the scenes in question weren't necessary for the film to emotionally resonate, the net result was a visceral portrayal of fragile, young love. I gave it 4 stars, and vowed to warn others that under no circumstances should they ever, ever watch this movie in a public setting. Even if that setting is France.

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