Advertisement
  1. Arts & Entertainment

Review: 'Blue is the Warmest Color' skimpy on story, too

Adele Exarchopoulos, left, plays Adele; Lea Seydoux plays Emma.
Published Nov. 5, 2013

Blue Is the Warmest Color (NC-17) (179 min.) — Without its celebrated sexual boldness, Abdellatif Kechiche's movie wouldn't deserve a fraction of the attention it's receiving. Judges at the Cannes Film Festival fell for the filmmaker's hustle, bestowing the Palme d'Or upon Blue Is the Warmest Color, for the first time ever including the lead actors as recipients. The gesture seems like a generous tip for perhaps 15 parceled minutes of a somewhat live sex show, as skimpily as the rest of the story plays out over three hours.

Essentially this is a girl-meets-girl, girl-loses-girl-and-mopes-a-lot story that, since it's French and subtitled, passes as classy. It's the story of teenaged Adele, played by Adele Exarchopoulos, whose plush-lipped curiosity about romance is vague enough to have whatever meaning you wish to read into it. Adele doesn't know yet what she wants in a lover but it isn't the boy she's dating. Then she spots Emma (Lea Seydoux), an artist with blue-dyed hair, and it's lust at first sight.

The relationship eventually runs its course, from tentative flirting to meeting each other's parents (although Adele's are clueless about her sexuality) to, as the French say, fin. Lots of conversations about literature, philosophy and how men don't understand women. Adele does a lot of talking while she eats because that is real and honest, words filmmakers fall back upon to rationalize dullness.

Now to the real reason this movie is being noticed: its sexual encounters between Adele and Emma, certainly raising the explicitness bar for any movie that isn't flat-out porn. Kechiche's doting on entwined limbs, thrusting pelvises and oral stimulation, all carefully posed and continued longer than necessary to get his point across, races beyond titillation to creepy voyeurism. Exarchopoulos and Seydoux have since made statements seconding my gut feeling that Kechiche did it all, not for his art, but to get his jollies. C (Tampa Theatre)

Steve Persall, Times movie critic

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. BurgerFi builds its signature cheeseburger with two Angus beef patties, double American cheese, lettuce, tomato and house sauce. Courtesy of BurgerFi
    Ring in National Cheeseburger Day, watch Bad Religion play Jannus Live or laugh with YouTubers Drew Gooden and Danny Gonzalez.
  2. Two western lowland gorillas at Busch Gardens were part of the successful Budweiser ad campaign during Super Bowl XLI. Sim Sim, left, and Cenzoo, right, helped sell Bud Light. BUSCH GARDENS  |  Tampa Tribune
    Sim Sim’s claim to fame was a 2007 Bud Light commercial.
  3. Hoisin-glazed chicken meatballs. LORRAINE FINA STEVENSKI  |  Special to the Times
    They’re topped with a hoisin sauce, and can be baked or pan-fried.
  4. On Friday, Joella's Hot Chicken will debut the Southern menu its known for in Largo. Joella's Hot Chicken
    Best part? There’s a drive-through.
  5. A still image from Vice's "WTFlorida?!" episode on Paul Flart. Courtesy of Vice
    Short documentaries on Floridians like hurricane headbanger Lane Pittman and Polk security guard “Paul Flart” expand their stories.
  6. FILE - In this May 5, 2019, file photo Alex Trebek poses in the press room at the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Center in Pasadena, Calif. Trebek said Tuesday, Sept. 17, that he’s had a setback in his battle with pancreatic cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy again. RICHARD SHOTWELL  |  Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP
    After a short period of optimism when he stopped chemotherapy, his “numbers shot up” and doctors ordered him back on the treatment.
  7. Visitors ride the Cheetah Hunt roller coaster at Tampa theme park Busch Gardens, which has put its 2020 Fun Card on sale early. AP/Busch Gardens
    Buy your 2020 Busch Gardens or SeaWorld Fun Card and get a few months free, plus more sales for Florida residents.
  8. Larry Duran, a 12-piece Latin band, will perform at the Hispanic Heritage Festival of Hernando County Sept. 21 at the Lake House. Vivian Rivera-Hernandez
  9. Jimmy Buffett performed at Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on June 6, 2017. JAY CRIDLIN  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The quintessential Florida Man and his Coral Reefer Band hit town for the holidays.
  10. In this image taken from NASA video actor Brad Pitt, left, star of the new space movie “Ad Astra,” speaks from NASA headquarters in Washington, to astronaut Nick Hague abroad the International Space Station, on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. AP
    In a televised call Monday, NASA astronaut Nick Hague answered Pitt — “absolutely” — getting a big laugh.
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement