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With Jim Sabatini

Blue is the Warmest Color

Blue is the Warmest Color
Adele Exarchopoulos, Jeremie Lahueurte and Lea Seydoux 

Rated: NC-17  for explicit sexual content.
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: October 25, 2013 Released by: IFC Films

An intense, if protracted and too prurient experience for some manages to engage the heart in unexpected ways.

In the new controversial and lauded French drama Blue Is The Warmest Color drawn from Julie Maroh's graphic novel a deeply felt love story transpires impassioned by food, art, literature, and of course, sex.

Arguably overly indulgent helmer Abdellatif Kechiche and lenser Sofian El Fani allow newcomer Adele Exarchopoulos to light up the screen as conflicted high schooler Adele who'll pass into early adulthood over the course of a sound if predictable narrative arc with an offhanded intimacy about it. The medium focus and close-ups of Adele can offer quite an interesting, variegated visual portal which helps to set up what goes to carnal and heart-wrenching ends.

Trying to gain a sense of self, a voracious Adele when not studying an unfinished tome by Pierre de Marivaux enthusiastically begins a relationship with Thomas (Jeremie Lahueurte) until getting more than a glimpse of more experienced sophisticated art school rebel Emma (Lea Seydoux, who appeared in Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris). Infatuation leads to flirtation and emotions ultimately fully exposed as Adele lets Emma do a nude portrait of her.

Kechiche, to his credit, takes a raw, unbridled approach to their relationship that is more than sapphic or coming-of-age sufficiently allowing his brave actresses a chance to mesmerize. Not just in an extended explicit scene as the essence of passion and discord is conveyed in ways that few would be able to approach even with the use of prosthetics.

Yes, Blue is uncomfortable viewing mainly for its pivotal, penetrating portion, but hardly ends up as gratuitous as might have been expected. The difference in social classes is touched on, for example, from dining of oysters at Emma's to pasta at Adele's. Nothing is glamorized or sensationalized in what is integral to unveiling the transgressive and clandestine with all the joy and grief. Even with a heady Seydoux doing her utmost to let a quite mature for her age Exarchopoulos excel in all the Adele's blossoming desires flesh is hardly dominant in the end.

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Blue is the Warmest Color        B+                     B+ 

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