News Column

Movie review: 'Blue Is the Warmest Color,' 2.5 stars

October 24, 2013


Oct. 24--"Blue Is the Warmest Color" arrives in theaters with an enormous amount of fanfare.

To recap: It won the top prize at this year's Cannes Film Festival. Director Abdellatif Kechiche and the film's stars engaged in a public dispute tied to his alleged treatment of them on set. And the movie has a no-holds-barred, 10-minute lesbian sex scene.

So it's a surprise to find that a movie engulfed in such controversy turns out to be a sweet and sincere coming-of-age story, with a lead performance by Adele Exarchopoulos that astutely captures the pangs of first love and the excitement of self-discovery.

Exarchopoulos plays a high school student named Adele who passionately falls for the older Emma (Lea Seydoux).

The movie charts the decade-long rise and fall of their relationship over the course of three languorous hours. And that's the problem.

All the emotional truths the movie contains, all the astute notes hit by the actresses, can't compensate for the fact that the film runs on for such a long time that it hits a narrative wall. There isn't the scope here to sustain three hours.

I'm all for slower movies, and longer movies, films that take the time to reflect the rhythms of life. But the sex scene is just one of many sequences here that are elongated to the point where the spell wanes and boredom sets in.

Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche

Starring Adele Exarchopoulos, Lea Seydoux

Rated NC-17

Playing at Lincoln Plaza,

IFC Center (which is ignoring NC-17 rating)


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