It’s that time of the week again – Online Screen Columnist Jack Reid with a look back at controversial Oscar-snub, Blue is the Warmest Colour.
Originally released under the title of La Vie d’Adèle in 2013, this movie has become something of a cult classic. The film was originally based on a graphic novel sometimes called Blue Angel, and sometimes called Le bleu est une couleur chaude, and the adaptation is alternatively called La Vie d’Adèle and Blue Is The Warmest Color. I’m going to go with both of the English titles just for the sake of simplicity.
Around its release, this movie swept the awards, taking the BAFTA for Best Film not in the English Language (worst award name ever), the Globe for Best Foreign Language Film (better award name), and the Palm D’Or (best award name ever) at Cannes. In an outrageous turn of events, the film didn’t qualify for an Oscar nomination because it was released at the wrong time of year, because apparently that’s a thing. If it had been on the roster, I guarantee it would have beaten out Amour for the Best Foreign Language Film.
Critical acclaim aside, this movie is amazing. It’s the anti-heteronormative coming-of-age tale that we’ve sorely needed. Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) is a shy schoolgirl surrounded by other schoolgirls who do nothing but gossip about their fledgling sexual experiences with boys. She remains incredibly introverted until one day she encounters Emma (Léa Seydoux) walking down the street.
Soon after, she’s fantasising about Emma as her sexual identity is increasingly troubled. Adèle’s coming-of-age comes thick and fast as her sexual awakening blooms alongside the trappings of impending adulthood. I should warn at this point that the sex scenes aren’t in any way Hollywood. They feel real and don’t hold back. This maybe isn’t a film to watch with your whole family in the Easter break.
Soon, Adèle is in a committed relationship, and is embroiled in all the emotional complexities involved with that. This film is important because it shows the awakening of a gay sexual identity without pretension and without many of the troubling things that all too commonly follow depictions of the gay experience on screen.
Blue doesn’t hold back in depicting the erotic aspect of Adèle’s sexuality, but it does so without the grim male gaze-y feeling that other films do. It actually bothers to depict the complexities of a gay relationship, rather than portraying a relationship and simply ‘gay’.
We follow Adèle and Emma right to their conclusion, and see everything along the way. This film is an important watch for anybody. Not only is it a culturally significant film for it’s unrivalled depiction of the gay experience, but it’s also an incredibly emotional impactful story.
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