Please don’t misunderstand: I’m just as thrilled as the next Al Bundy to watch attractive young actresses in the buff. (Who am I trying to kid – I’m probably more thrilled than Al Bundy.) But after suffering through the interminably dull, critically adored, After School Special called Blue Is the Warmest Colour, I was ready for something a bit more stimulating, such as a pile of needlework and an episode of Murder, She Wrote.
Blue, now streaming on Netflix and Amazon, won the Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and enjoys a 90 percent “fresh” rating on the Web site, Rotten Tomatoes. This near-universal acclaim mystifies me. I would chalk it up to the fact that most film critics are horny, middle-aged men, were it not for the fact that I am a horny, middle-aged man (well, sometimes).
This overhyped, NC-17 version of Dawson’s Creek does have a few positive attributes:
The lead actress, Adele Exarchopoulos, is cute, in a Bugs Bunny-overbite kind of way. She is fine as a French high-school girl discovering adulthood and sexuality courtesy of an older lesbian, played by Lea Seydoux, who is superb. Both actresses excel at the actual craft of acting and at performing pornographic, lesbian “scissors” techniques in bed.
No, the fault here lies with director Abdellatif Kechiche, who was badly in need of 1) a strict mother on the set, and 2) an even stricter film editor. Kechiche, obviously in love with the youthful Adele’s face, devotes roughly 45 minutes of his movie to close-ups of Adele as she pouts, looks pensive, looks sad, looks confused. The explicit sex scenes are at least a respite from the endless face shots.
Again, the main actresses are good and certainly photogenic, but they aren’t interesting enough to sustain such a wispy story for an excruciating three hours. It’s just girl meets girl, girl loses girl, blah blah blah. The perils of young love. Tears and heartbreak.
At the Telluride Film Festival in September, Seydoux and Exarchopoulos were asked what it was like acting for porn direc— uh … the great auteur Kechiche. “It was horrible,” said Seydoux. When I realized, about two hours into Blue Is the Warmest Colour, that I still had to endure another hour, I felt exactly the same way.
(Editor’s note: For all of the Al Bundys out there, we are including lots of screen captures from the infamous lesbian-sex scene, thereby sparing you the chore of actually watching the film.)
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