I’ve seen Lea Seydoux the model before she turned up in the big screen. In Midnight in Paris, she has a small role as Gabrielle, a seller at an outdoor market who the newly-single Gil (Owen Wilson) leaves with at the movie’s end. But it’s in Blue is the Warmest Color in which I saw she really is a fine actor. Indeed, for her role as Emma, a lesbian painter, she won the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
The movie title I think is inspired by Emma’s hair and eyes which Adele (Adèle Exarchopoulos) were taken with on their first meeting, in the middle of a street. Emma is with her current girl flame at the time. Adèle, on her way to meet a guy from school who has a huge crush on her and whom she agreed to go out with. At the sight of Emma, Adèle was suddenly and inexplicably disturbed with all kinds of warm. All the more as both women passed each other on the street.
Before this chance meeting, Adèle is in her Lit class poring over lines in Marivaux “La Princesse de Clèves”. A student reads the passage
We left the church. I remember walking slowly. I reduced my pace. I was sorry to be leaving that place. My heart was missing something but it did not know what it was. I say it did not know. Perhaps it did, for as I left I turned around to see the young man I left behind without knowing I did so for him.
The professor asks, what does it mean that her heart was missing something? When you exchange, when you cross paths and you both exchange glances spontaneously like with love at first sight is there something less or more in your heart?
A student volunteered, regret. Regret about not speaking to the person. Regret about not filling the emptiness in your heart.
It’s said a chance meeting could mean two things: it will end at nothing or move on into something. In this story, the chance meeting with Emma immediately awakened something in Adèle enabling her to go beyond the street with Emma, filling what she had not known was a missing piece in her heart.
Like most first loves though, the movie ends with a sad revelation for Adèle. She’s at Emma’s exhibit, and oh, dressed in blue.
I remember having discussions about homosexuality with a close male friend. I wanted to understand MSM from a straight man’s perspective. He was curious to know the same but between women. I said that in high school I’ve been twice pursued by lesbians and my reaction each time was to run like the devil for the hills. Absolutely no warm feelings there, in fact, more a mix of horror and comedy. I’ve a couple of lesbian friends though. I totally get their life track, fascinated even, while certain it’s not mine. But certainty only comes once you’ve dig around it a bit, or as Adele in the movie did, plunged right into it.
Blue is the Warmest Color is a coming into awareness kind of movie and I recommend it for young adults who are at that crossroad themselves.