Director Steven Spielberg led the jury that named BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR the best film at this year's Cannes Film Festival. But I don't consider it a masterpiece.
Instead, it's a well acted coming-of-age love story about a 15 year old French girl who discovers that she is a lesbian when she falls in love with a 20 year old art student.
What I liked about this subtitled French film is that it captures lots of raw emotion. It's very realistic. But its three hour running time is way too long.
When the two young women first catch each other's eyes in the street, it's an instant attraction. Emma is with another woman. But Adele has just broken up with a boy because she doesn't enjoy physical contact with him. And even though she's underage, Adele goes into a gay bar hoping to find Emma. And in short order, she does.
Emma: What's your name?
Emma: That's a pretty name.
Adele: What's your name?
Emma: My name's Emma.
Adele: What do you do?
Emma: What do you think?
Emma is sophisticated, from a wealthy family. She's a painter almost ready to graduate from art school.
Adele is down-to-earth. Her parents are working class and she wants to be a kindergarten teacher.
Adele denies the budding relationship to her mocking high school friends, but the attraction is powerful and so the two meet again. Emma talks about Jean-Paul Sarte, a philosopher that Adele has never heard of.
Emma: I was big on Sartre in high school.
Emma: It did me good. Especially in affirming my freedom and my own values. And the rigorousness of his commitments.
Adele: Sort of like Bob Marley. Almost.
It isn't long before the two act on their mutual attraction and soon their connection becomes an all consuming passion in graphic sex scenes that go on too long.
Several years pass. The two have moved in together but their differences begin to separate them emotionally.
When Emma initiates the inevitable breakup, Adele is distraught, and she weeps openly in several very long scenes.
Their passion and pain, desire and heartbreak - the director gets all that up on the screen, but he lets too many scenes run on and on to the point where I was eager for his film to end.
The young actresses give extraordinary, almost unforgettable performances in BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, but the director's excesses damage the overall film.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now. firstname.lastname@example.org