In Maroh's graphic novel, the story is told from Emma's point of view; Adèle has died, suddenly and tragically, and Emma recounts their history as she reads Adèle's diary. Kechiche did away with that melodramatic framing device, for the better. The film deals with a different kind of mourning: Something, not someone, has died, and for the moment, at least, that's worse. It's a common complaint of our modern culture that sex is supposedly all around us: We're obsessed, addicted, we need to just stop. Yet when passion dies in a partnership, well-meaning confidants will often advise cheerfully, "Sex isn't everything!" They're happy to wave it away for you, if not for themselves.

Blue Is the Warmest Color refuses to wave it away. Maybe that's why it's gotten under people's skin, and maybe that's why the actresses themselves, both still so young, may not fully understand the power—not just sexual but simply human—of what they've put onscreen. How will they feel about those performances, about this movie, 30 years from now, when their bodies, their faces, their own capacity for desire have changed? Meanwhile, some will see Blue Is the Warmest Color as pure horndog bait, yet another degradation of the female image made by a guy with his dirty-minded camera. Others—more, I hope—will see a story about the universality of desire and heartbreak. Love will tear us apart again. For better or worse, that truth is more enduring than politics.

Critics' Pick Critics' Pick

Location Info


IFC Center

323 Sixth Ave.
New York, NY 10014

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: Greenwich Village

Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

1886 Broadway
New York, NY 10023

Category: Movie Theaters

Region: West 60s


Blue Is the Warmest Color
Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche
Sundance Selects
Opens October 25, IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinemas

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