REVIEW: Blue is the Warmest Color is Completely Engrossing and Surprisingly Conventional

by Christopher Runyon

The original French title for Blue is the Warmest Color, which won the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes film festival, translates to The Life of Adèle (Chapters 1 & 2), which I find to be more fitting and indicative of the whole film. Blue is the Warmest Color refers to the sapphire-blue hair of lesbian college student Emma (Léa Seydoux), which immediately catches the eye of the still-closeted high schooler Adèle (the coincidentally named Adèle Exarchopoulos) as she’s slowly discovering herself and her sexual orientation. The American title suggests that it’s a film of sexual attraction more than anything else, but really it’s the story of romantic longing and its aftermath, hence La vie d’Adèle. Perhaps more indicative of the film than that is the inclusion of the subtitle Chapters 1 & 2, which indicates what is both the film’s greatest structural strength and its only major flaw: that it’s actually two distinctly different movies brought together as one large, sweeping, three-hour portrait of a woman’s life and her first love.

Grade: B+

Click here to read the rest of Christopher’s raving yet reserved review of this year’s Palme d’Or winner.