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The 2013 Cannes Review Report: ‘Blue is the Warmest Color’

The 2013 Cannes Review Report: 'Blue is the Warmest Color'

The Cannes Review Report rounds up each day’s notable premieres, along with a sampling of their reviews and tweets from the south of France. Here’s the reaction to “Blue is the Warmest Color,” this year’s Palme d’Or winner.

Blue is the Warmest Color
Category: Competition
Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
Starring: Lea Seydoux, Adele Exarchopoulos, Salim Kechiouche
Synopsis: “At 15, Adele doesn’t question it: a girl goes out with boys. Her life is turned upside down the night she meets Emma, a young woman with blue hair, who will allow her to discover desire, to assert herself as a woman and as an adult. In front of others, Adele grows, seeks herself, loses herself, finds herself…”


Ryland Aldrich, Twitch:

“As time goes on, Exarchopoulos does a remarkable job of subtly changing physically both in appearance and manner to mirror Adele’s emotional journey.”

Raffi Asdourian, The Film Stage:

Despite its three-hour runtime, the film never languishes in its pace, with a script that constantly keeps viewers drawn to characters as if they were brand-new.”

Nicholas Bell, IONCINEMA:

“If you give Kechiche your time, he hardly tries your patience, once again creating a beautiful, engrossing film that manages to capture human emotion like few other films ever have.”

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian:

“A blazingly emotional and explosively sexy film.”

Justin Chang, Variety:

“A searingly intimate character study marked by the most explosively graphic lesbian sex scenes in recent memory.”

Robbie Collin, The Telegraph:

“An extraordinary, prolonged popping-candy explosion of pleasure, sadness, anger, lust and hope.”

Mike D’Angelo, A.V. Club:

“Familiar in its broad outline but bracingly specific in its minute details, and it traffics in feelings so raw that they’re almost painful to observe.”

Manohla Dargis, New York Times:

“It’s disappointing that Mr. Kechiche, whose movies include ‘The Secret of the Grain’ and ‘Black Venus’ (another voyeuristic exercise), seems so unaware or maybe just uninterested in the tough questions about the representation of the female body that feminists have engaged for decades.”

Jon Frosch, France24.com:

Abdellatif Kechiche’s lesbian romance is a masterpiece.”

Stephen Garrett, New York Observer:

“The explicit scenes never really feel pornographic, especially since the film isn’t about titillation or arousal; the lovemaking is instead quite tender (although often impressively athletic) and feels absolutely justified in order to build character over the span of many years.”

Tim Grierson, Paste:

“A beautiful, wise, erotic, devastating love story, this tale of a young lesbian couple’s beginning, middle and possible end utilizes its running time to give us a full sense of two individuals growing together and apart over the course of years.”

Jordan Hoffman, Film.com:

“Some critics may wonder if these [sex] sequences — lengthy, intense, un-simulated and numerous — are necessary to tell the story. Please believe the part of my brain that doesn’t house a lecherous voyeur when I say yes, absolutely.”

Jessica Kiang, The Playlist:

This is absolute cinema, absolute characterization, absolute storytelling, controlled and compassionate, and bursting with empathy and life.”

Eric Kohn, Indiewire:

Kechiche has crafted such a believable world that it’s hard not to get wrapped up in the stakes at hand.”

Guy Lodge, Time Out London:

From this simple, not especially unique love story, Kechiche has fashioned an intimate epic in every sense of the term.”

Jordan Mintzer, Hollywood Reporter:

A sprawling, emotionally absorbing tale of young love.”

Shaun Munro, Film School Rejects:

“As a depiction of first love, cinema doesn’t get a whole lot more frank.”

Jonathan Romney, Screen Daily:

Kechiche hits emotional paydirt with a story spanning several years of the early adult life of a young woman, focusing on a passionate lesbian romance.”


Alex Billington, First Showing:

“Blue is the Warmest Color – An extremely intimate portrait of young love and sexuality. Overlong, but otherwise a masterpiece. #cannes2013”

Xan Brooks, The Guardian:

“Finally caught up with #cannes2013 screening of Blue is the Warmest Colour & can understand the fuss: it is utterly fucking wonderful.”

Dave Calhoun, Time Out London:

CANNES: Abdellatif Kechiche’s BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR a real surprise: warm, real, honest, raw, exciting, true. Lovely performances.”

Logan Hill, New York Times:

“Wow. Blue is the Warmest Color is thrillingly realistic, the best film I’ve seen at #cannes.”

Karina Longworth, Grantland:

The second hour of Blue is the Warmest Color is so, so good. As for the rest of it…”

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