One of the blurbs in the trailer for Blue is the Warmest Color reads “REMARKABLE...It’s perhaps the first great love story of the 21st century that feels completely of the moment.” It’s completely superficial. Abdellatif Kechiche’s three-hour romance is boring, undisciplined and unduly proud. The film’s in love with itself. I didn’t read any of the press before seeing the movie and “entered with a clean heart and a watchful eye,” knowing only that Blue was a long movie about two girls falling in love, with especially graphic sex scenes. “One of the greatest movies about love I’ve ever seen” screams the trailer. This isn’t a movie about love, it’s about lust, a particularly exhausted, rehashed, reused, and worn-out sort of lust: the masturbating male’s thoughts.
Blue bounced right off of my brain. There is no feeling in this movie, only sex, surface level porn lust with a wondering, ponderous eye that lingers on banal landscapes like parades, posh parties, the high school quad, and Adéle, who is leered at in extreme close-ups by the camera, rhythmically. We watch her watch, talk, eat, walk, sleep, dream, and fuck, with the eerie distance of a voyeur or someone surfing for porn. Adéle’s sexual awakening is readymade and so obvious and predictable that you disconnect from it 20 minutes in, when Adéle is hounded by a dimwitted douchebag who’s just as hollow as her. His intent, her feelings, and the outcome are obvious the moment they speak. They’re different, and he’s unattractive, awkward and unappealing. She likes every kind of music except hard rock, but that’s his thing. She reads; he barely can. She rebuffs him at first but they eventually have sex, after plenty of taunting by her pecking order of friends, who are quick to call her a dyke when the blue-haired Emma shows up to pick Adéle up from school.
Their relationship follows the most rote road imaginable: coy flirting, a missed connection, more flirting, their first kiss, passionate, extended consummation, blissful unity in love, a cooling down, settling in. Then, years into their relationship, Adéle sleeps with an even sleazier man on the side a few times, and they have a nasty, caterwauling breakup as Emma kicks Adéle out of the house they share. Things are bad for a while, then, three years later, they meet at a cafe, where they have a surreal sexual encounter, and just as abruptly part ways. I didn’t like Blue because everything in it felt like a service or a means to the sex scenes, which are quite nice, and arousing, like porn, but as with porn, Blue offers so little in the way of unique characterization or any kind of insight into Adéle’s thoughts, and focuses heavily instead on her gorgeous body. It’s a basic, simple, and most of all, morbidly boring movie with puerile intentions.
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