Blue Is the Warmest Color ★★★

I didn’t connect with this film in the same way that countless others seem to have. That’s not to say I don’t get what the fuss is about - I’m a heterosexual man, after all - but beyond the superficial, no, I suppose I don’t really get what all the fuss is about.

Blue is the Warmest Color is fairly strong in its writing and acting, and while the pacing serves to move the film along (avoiding some of the trappings of coming-of-age stories) even in spite of its overly-long runtime, overall I didn’t ever really get a sense that this film broke any new ground - including in its provocative intimacy sequences.

The lead character, played by Adèle Exarchopoulos, is lethargic and un-energetic to the detriment of creating a compelling connection. I honestly don’t understand the praise that she has garnered over the last few months for her performance here. And while it’s clear that there’s lust in the relationship between her and Léa Seydoux’s Emma, I never once felt completely convinced that their connection was genuine or lasting in the way I think it was intended. Nor does Emma’s lifestyle - especially her emerging career in the art world - feel like anything more than a sketch of what a director thinks an artist’s life must be like. It’s only in the final act, with Adèle expressing her longing in an incredibly convincing way, that I finally get a sense of where audiences have found the soul of her character - something to laude her performance for. But to me it came too late.

The core problem of the film is that it seeks to present a relationship devoid of gender trappings. It tries to be a film about love’s complex inner workings before it’s a film about the mechanics of lesbianism. And yet by illustrating - in tremendous detail - nay, relying on these very mechanics, its presentation does the film’s core thesis a disservice. Meanwhile everything else about this film’s narrative seems utterly conventional and, unfortunately, expected.