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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Blue Is the Warmest Color review (London Film Festival)

Blue Is the Warmest Color yellow light Adèle Exarchopoulos Léa Seydoux

There’s nothing particularly surprising here. Not even the rather tediously obvious 15-minute all-nude lesbian fuckfest.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

I have not read the source material

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

It’s yer basic tragic French love story. Not tragic in that somebody develops a terrible rare cancer or is paralyzed in a skydiving accident or anything, just that there’s lots of angst and drama, because, you know, they’re French.

Oh, and they’re also lesbians. Not that that’s tragic, of course, and certainly not for the hetero male viewer who’d like to pretend he’s appreciating art when he is watching two pretty young thin white conventionally attractive “lesbians” get totally naked and have graphic (simulated) sex with lots of O-faces on camera. Tragic — for that viewer only, of course — would have been, I’m sure, if they had been forced to appreciate from an artistic angle two frumpy mannish middle-aged lesbians getting it on in an explicit extended 15-minute all-nude fuckfest. Would that film have won the Palme d’Or at Cannes? I suspect not.

The story of the relationship between Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) and Emma (Léa Seydoux: Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Midnight in Paris) — based on a graphic novel by Julie Maroh [Amazon U.S.] [Amazon Canada] [Amazon U.K.] — doesn’t distinguish itself terribly from any other romantic melodrama, except in its odd omissions. Adèle is only 15 or perhaps 16 when she meets the older Emma, but there’s no hint that we’re meant to see anything even slightly amiss in an adult seducing a schoolgirl. Apart from one scene in which Adèle is confronted by the homophobia of her classmates, there’s little sense of her struggling to find a way to deal with her unconventional life; it’s almost unforgivable, in fact, that, after establishing that Adèle’s parents haven’t got a clue that she’s gay and that her new friend Emma is in fact her girlfriend, the film never returns to her family, not even after the story jumps ahead years, to when she and Emma have been living together for apparently quite some time. Is their relationship still a secret? Is Adèle still in the closet to her parents? If not, how did they deal with her coming out? If so, how is she keeping Emma hidden?

These aren’t political issues — this is in no way a political film — but personal ones that it’s bizarre for the film to ignore when it is, allegedly, all about Adèle’s coming of age. And yet this three-hour movie has time to linger over adult Adèle, now a teacher, interacting with her nursery-school charges. Sure, the kids are adorable, but her work life is never an issue — it’s not like the school has any problem with her being a lesbian, as far as we can see, or that she lives in fear of her bosses finding out, or anything.

Director Abdellatif Kechiche has ensured that it’s all well performed — though Exarchopoulos does have a perpetual deer-frozen-in-headlights expression that, while perhaps suited to the confused-teen Adèle, makes less sense on the grownup version — but there’s nothing particularly surprising about what he offers us here. Not even the rather tediously obvious 15-minute all-nude lesbian fuckfest.

viewed during the 57th BFI London Film Festival

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Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
US/Can release: Oct 25 2013
UK/Ire release: Nov 22 2013

MPAA: rated NC-17 for explicit sexual content
BBFC: rated 18 (contains strong sex and very strong language)

viewed in 2D
viewed at a private screening with an audience of critics

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, please reconsider.

  • Disappointed

    Rude. You should be ashamed of this review. Your 2nd paragraph was totally unnecessary. 90% of critics disagree with you so it looks like you can’t get past the lesbian fuckfest which you feel the need to mention three times on this page.

  • possum

    Rude. So a movie critic on her own site shouldn’t have dissenting opinions.

  • Der Bruno Stroszek

    I wouldn’t be altogether surprised if ninety per cent of critics or thereabouts were heterosexual men, which would bear out a certain truth in that second paragraph.

  • What should I be ashamed of? Disagreeing with other critics?

  • tash

    That’s certainly a good point. I wanted to read this particular review because it was one of the very few I could find written by a woman, and I’m not unhappy to read a dissenting opinion. The NY Times and the LA Times both had very high praise today for this film and makes inclined to want to see it. I also will have to admit that I thought Lea Seydoux’s brief appearance in “Midnight in Paris” was quite appealing….She’s beautiful, she’s French…what more can we say.

  • Disappointed

    Have an opinion and disagree. That’s the job of a critic, but when you use words like fuckfest 3 times on the same page it is obvious that you feel the only reason this film even got recognition was because of the good looking “lesbians” and that scene. Was it really necessary to add in the “two frumpy mannish middle-aged lesbians getting it on” comparison? I’m pretty sure that gay or straight, male or female, frumpy middle-aged PEOPLE in general are not going to be as exciting to see in any love scene in any movie.
    Your chosen words are just offensive and take away from the plot of the movie.

  • MetaphysicalMan

    “I’m sure, if they had been forced to appreciate from an artistic angle
    two frumpy mannish middle-aged lesbians getting it on in an explicit
    extended 15-minute all-nude fuckfest. Would that film have won the Palme
    d’Or at Cannes? I suspect not.”

    I guess you have a low opinion of Steven Spielberg then, who headed the jury and had only great things to say about the movie.

    And this ignores the fact that 99.9% of all movies feature absurdly attractive actors, so I don’t know why this one would be any different. And I don’t know why a movie about teenagers in love would star frumpy middle-agers.

  • Bluejay

    The NY Times… had very high praise today for this film

    Depends on which Times critic you read. A.O. Scott likes it significantly more than Manohla Dargis.

  • it is obvious that you feel the only reason this film even got recognition was because of the good looking “lesbians” and that scene.

    Excellent! Then my point was taken.

  • In this case, yes, I am somewhat suspicious of Spielberg. Is he above criticism?

    99 percent of “legit” — ie, non porn — movies do not feature totally nude attractive young women explicitly simulating sex.

  • ♡ Cupcakes ♡

    Maryann, I can’t fathom how you could see the beauty in a crap film like Girl Most Likely and yet cast aside this beautiful heartfelt film as an, ehem, “Lesbian F*ckfest” like, I almost feel sorry that you weren’t able to get the feels that I felt while I viewed this (not from the sex, but from the raw emotion). I read this review like three times and I don’t know what to say to you… Between us girls, how could you NOT have loved this? :(

  • I’m under the impression that you purposely wrote a rotten review as a scheme to get people to view your website… well, it worked.

    If I wanted to pull tricks to get visitors here, there’s tons more stuff I could be doing. And please also note that there’s no reason on Earth for me to do such things because there’s no advertising here. Drawing readers in if there’s no reason to think it will get them to stick around and become subscribers makes no sense at all.

    You’ve completely misread my review if you think I’ve “cast it aside.” And you might want to re-examine your contrast of this with *Girl Most Likely.* If that film is the sort I prefer over this one, that tells you a lot about my taste in movies, and you can use that to determine whether I’m a critic who is useful to you.

    Between us girls, I have no secrets that I withheld from my review that I can share with you.

  • Erin Treat

    Great review MaryAnn. Basically everything that troubles me about this movie is articulated well here.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Downvoted for asinine “you’re just trying to get page views” gambit.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Downvoted for asinine “no one wants to see ugly people fuck” complaint. Also for “My virgin eyes!”

  • Maester Pycelle

    Lol, is your job to downvote or what? The comments don’t even disappear. Try at least ot be more expressive, or is ‘asinine’ the only adjective you know? I can see now the “Downvoted for asinine “is your job to downvote or what”, haha.

  • David Greenwood

    I wouldn’t get mad at MaryAnn over this review. I check a lot of critics and I know where her and my opinions differ. Hell, Sucker Punch is one of my favorite movies, so that ought to tell you something. But it’s nice to see how all sorts of people relate to art, not just ones who parrot my own opinions. Even if they’re really angry about what they just watched.

    Besides, she liked “Shame”, so we’ve got some opinions in common when it comes to overtly sexual material!

  • Barrett

    The fact that you can’t just enjoy the intimacy of two individuals that just happen to be beautiful without wondering “what if they were frumpy? Would it have won the Palme D’Or?” says more about you than about the movie itself. You can see explicit (and beautiful) sex between old people in ‘Gloria’, wich has received a lot of critical acclaim. It just wasn’t the obligation of this movie to portray that.

  • Yo, so Julie Maroh, the author of the original graphic novel, didn’t like this movie either:


    I haven’t seen this movie and I probably won’t, but most of my fellow lesbian friends don’t like it.

  • ♡ Cupcakes ♡

    The word “downvoted” isn’t even in the dictionary. Also, your comment has nothing to do with the movie/topic at hand. Please stop trying to sound smart cause really, you’re just making yourself sound stupid.

  • ♡ Cupcakes ♡

    Yeah! I heard about this too, i haven’t read the graphic novel so I can’t pinpoint what she didn’t like besides it having a different title.. Also, have you noticed that movies with lots of sex are just common in Europe whereas bloodbath movies are common in the west? Like Only God Forgives was BOOED in the Cannes film festival. (Man was that hard to sit through though I wouldn’t even think of booing it.) When a movie like this screened in Cannes the sex was just something normal but, when it screened here in the states everyone was all “OMG IT’S SO GRAPHIC AHHHH, FILTH!”
    I guess it’s just culture difference?

  • Indie Film Goer

    MaryAnn, I see where you are coming from re whether audiences would want to see “two frumpy” leads.

    What I think you neglect to consider is that women are equally guilty of this. Do we have “frumpy” male leads in romantic films or romantic comedies? Or do we have Ryan Gosling and Colin Firth? You can point to just as many films that would fail if you replace male leads with “frumpy” leads. Just sayin.

  • Bluejay

    when it screened here in the states everyone was all “OMG IT’S SO GRAPHIC AHHHH, FILTH!”

    Who is “everyone”? The film has a 91% “fresh” critical rating and an 86% positive audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And even dissenting critics like MaryAnn aren’t describing the film as “filth”; note that the majority of her review is about how she has a problem with the *story.*

  • Swee’Pea

    “The truth is, if I were hung up about every predatory director or every degrading image of a woman, I couldn’t be a film critic. So I watch, loving movies that don’t necessarily love or even like women.” — Manohla Dargis, New York Times film critic on “Blue is the Warmest Color.”

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    The word “downvoted” isn’t even in the dictionary.

    And as we all know, dictionaries never change. And there is, of course, no such thing as a portmanteau. *eyeroll*

    Wait, is “eyeroll” in the dictionary?

    your comment has nothing to do with the movie

    No, my comment is in response to your comment. The one where you attempt to employ the asinine “you’re just trying to get page views” gambit. Which one might note has nothing to do with the movie, either. And for clarity’s sake (and before you try to accuse me of name-calling) it’s the gambit that’s asinine.

    Please stop trying to sound smart

    Tell me, was it my use of the term “asinine” or “gambit” that makes it sound like I’m trying to sound smart?

    you’re just making yourself sound stupid

    Somehow, your assessment on that matter doesn’t really bug me right now.

  • LaSargenta

    The sentences you’ve quoted might imply (out of context) that Dargis “loved” the film. Look a little further:

    I first saw “Blue Is the Warmest Color” at Cannes, where I wrote 399 dissenting words on the movie and raised some of the issues I had with it. I wrote that Mr. Kechiche was a self-indulgent filmmaker (the movie runs three hours), and mentioned a scene in which a man talks about art and female orgasms. Primarily, I questioned Mr. Kechiche’s representation of the female body. By keeping so close to Adèle, he seemed to be trying to convey her subjective experience, specifically with the hovering camerawork and frequent close-ups of her face. Yet, early on, this sense of the character’s interiority dissolves when the camera roves over her body even while she is sleeping. Is Adèle, I had wondered then, dreaming of her own hot body?


    In truth, it isn’t sex per se that makes “Blue Is the Warmest Color” problematic; it’s the patriarchal anxieties about sex, female appetite and maternity that leach into its sights and sounds and the way it frames, with scrutinizing closeness, the female body. In the logic of the movie, Adèle’s body is a mystery that needs solving…

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    I was going for a theme. And I didn’t want “Disappointed” or “Cupcakes” to think I was singling them out. Also, this thread is attracting an unusually high percentage of bad arguments. Also too, I don’t even downvote people like it was my job.

  • Yumiko Ayakashi

    “This thread is attracting an unusually high percentage of bad arguments.” Oh, so because other people have an opinion and want to discuss the film with Maryann their arguments are bad? You are the one just jumping in and “downvoting” making yourself sound all high and mighty. I mean look, the film got a 91% on Rottentomatoes and was praised at Cannes and, has touched so many people. Obviously, when someone disses it as an ehem, LESBIAN FUCKFEST I can imagine there will be much controversy. If all you are gonna do is tell people that their comments are nothing but “bad arguments” then you are not needed here. Let us movie buffs discuss a film. Also, I agree with cupcakes: you’re making yourself look BEYOND STUPID.

  • Yumiko Ayakashi

    By “everyone” I don’t think she’s referring to professional critics. She’s probably referring the audience reviews on Facebook/Twitter or even the people discussing the film on Youtube. I too have seen a lot of people commenting about the graphic sex scenes but hey, it’s french.

  • Yumiko Ayakashi

    Question, have you ever changed your opinion of a film? (I’m not saying you should) But has there ever been a time where you re-visited a movie and decided that it was good?

    Also, i notice you are a Rottentomatoes critic, does them mean you are the one who decides if the review if fresh/rotten? Or is it read by Rottentomatoes first and then they are the ones who decide?

  • RogerBW

    Well, I guess a lot of famous ageing male film luminaries still don’t want to admit they enioy porn. Oh, but it’s artistically necessary

  • Swee’Pea

    Perhaps MaryAnn gleaned the intent of the quote. It is for her, and extends well beyond this movie. Ms. Dargis offers a valuable insight for MaryAnn if she wishes to truly develop into, and be recognized as, a first-rate, A-list film critic.

  • Danielm80

    Have you read MaryAnn’s other reviews? You might take a look at her review of Pain and Gain?


  • Bluejay

    Dargis’ entire article is insightful, but the insight of the specific passage you quoted is questionable. In your quote, Dargis says she can’t get hung up on images that degrade women, because otherwise she couldn’t be a film critic; she finds herself “loving movies that don’t necessarily love or even like women.” But who says she has to love what she critiques? Who says she can’t, as a critic, point out and call out films (or moments in films) that have problematic depictions of women?

    In fact, as LaSargenta points out, that’s exactly what Dargis goes on to do in the rest of her piece. She doesn’t praise or fawn over the film; she points out its problems. And her problem with the sex scene — that she thinks it’s shot to appeal to male desire rather than to depict female subjectivity/interiority — is very similar to the argument that MaryAnn makes here. Dargis in another piece writes that “the movie feels far more about [the director] Mr. Kechiche’s desires than anything else” and quotes John Berger saying “Men look at women; women watch themselves being looked at.” Likewise, MaryAnn writes that the sex seems to be filmed for “the hetero male viewer” watching two conventionally pretty women getting it on.

    So, you want MaryAnn to have more of Dargis’ viewpoint? Seems like they’re already on the same page to me. But you said that your intent with the quote “extends well beyond this movie” — in what way? If you mean “MaryAnn shouldn’t make a big deal out of things that I don’t make a big deal out of,” I suspect that’s probably a nonstarter.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    No, their arguments are bad because they’re bad arguments. For instance, “disappointed” was being ageist and creepy. Cupcake was employing a tired and rather frayed old strawman. You’re making an argumentum ad populum.* and an implied ad hominem.** (Random all caps doesn’t help, either.)
    I see no reason to let bad arguments slide, particularly when the engage neither the movie nor the critique.

    * That 91% of critics recommended the film says nothing about MAJ’s criticism of it. Also, Tomatometer ratings are binary – a marginal recommendation counts the same as a rave review, which severely limits their usefulness outside of broad generalizations.

    ** I might be wrong because disappointed and cupcakes have valid points, but not just because I look stupid?

  • LaSargenta

    Interestingly, here’s a review at Towleroad http://www.towleroad.com/2013/10/movies-blue-is-the-warmest-color.html reviewed by a (presumably) gay man, or at least a LGBT ally given the location of the post. His review is pretty favorable, but even he notes in the last paragraph that this is for a heterosexual male gaze (not in those exact words, but that can sum it up).

  • I look forward to the movie in which Ryan Gosling and Colin Firth act out an explicit 15-minute sex scene.

  • Re your first question: Generally not. But then, I don’t have time to revisit films. Are you suggesting that I would do so in this case, and if so, why? (And if not, why ask this here?)

    Re Rotten Tomatoes: RT choses ratings for a few critics, but I choose my own rating.

  • I gleaned the intent of the quote when I read Dargis’s piece days ago. And I’ve said similar myself before. That doesn’t mean I love every movie that doesn’t love women, even if I sometimes tolerate such an attitude. (And Dargis isn’t saying she does, either.)

  • ♡ Cupcakes ♡

    Yumiko is probably suggesting that you were distracted by the sex scenes and that this movie probably has (within it’s 3 hour running time) a nugget of an idea that could actually make you green-light it. Maybe you will appreciate an R-rated cut more? :)

  • ♡ Cupcakes ♡

    Guys, I don’t think you should compare Maryann and Manohla cause their opinions differ a lot too. For example, Maryann hates Spring Breakers, it was on the bottom of her list for a long time, in fact. On the other hand, Manohla gave it a PERFECT score.

  • Bluejay

    No one is saying that they share the same opinion about every movie. But they do have similar opinions about the depiction of women in THIS movie.

  • Fib Hg

    “Not that that’s tragic, of course, and certainly not for the hetero
    male viewer who’d like to pretend he’s appreciating art when he is
    watching two pretty young thin white conventionally attractive
    “lesbians” get totally naked and have graphic (simulated) sex with lots
    of O-faces on camera”

    Virtually every negative review of this movie says the same ideological stuff. Even if it was male gaze (i don´t think it is)… is it something bad?

    “forced to appreciate from an artistic angle two frumpy mannish
    middle-aged lesbians getting it on in an explicit extended 15-minute
    all-nude fuckfest. Would that film have won the Palme d’Or at Cannes? I suspect not.”

    First, it´s a 6-7 minute scene, not 15. Second, you are right… and most Hollywood actors/actresses would have another job if they were ugly or fat.

  • RogerBW

    If you want to watch porn, watch porn without shame. Don’t claim it’s art.

  • Fib Hg

    Did i say “art”?

  • RogerBW

    The director and most of the male critics are. That’s the problem.

  • LaSargenta

    To answer your question:

    Even if it was male gaze (i don´t think it is)… is it something bad?

    “Bad”? Maybe not. But, women are 51% of the population. I know that I’m really pretty bored with having to align my viewing with the standard heterosexual male viewpoint. It is DULL. It has been done before ad nauseum.

    Maybe the thing you point out in your immediately previous sentence — “[v]irtually every negative review of this movie says the same — is worth thinking about.

    And, by the way, it isn’t ideology. It is life. I have one and it doesn’t consist of doing everything to make the “male gaze” happy, especially in my sex life.

  • LaSargenta

    I beg your pardon, I’d say lots of the porn I consume is art.

    Signed, a heterosexual female fan of Touko Laaksonen, someone with a better sense of humor than Spielberg.

  • Fib Hg

    OK, don’t watch the movie. Is that simple.

    So we have sexual correctness too? Would you call Fifty Shades of Grey “female gaze”?

    According to early french box office figures, 60% of viewers of “Blue” are female. I don’t know if they are all lesbian.

  • Danielm80

    Why criticize the society we live in when we can just walk into a different movie theatre and stop thinking about it? Then we won’t notice that only 11% of the movies have a woman as the main protagonist. We won’t notice that only 38% of the people working in the film industry are female. (See http://www.wmm.com/resources/film_facts.shtml for more figures.)

    Also, if you’re using Fifty Shades of Grey as an example of a feminist movie, that’s hilarious.

  • I was not distracted by the sex. And no, I don’t foresee that a shorter cut would prompt me to give it a green light. It’s a story we’ve seen a million times before. There’s little fresh here.

  • ♡ Cupcakes ♡

    This is pretty confusing, on your list of films ranked, this is one is above The Frozen Ground (which got a fresh from you) which i’m ASSUMING means you liked this one more. Also, you say this isn’t fresh because we’ve seen the story a million times before. In all honesty, yes, we have but this is probably as good as it gets when telling a story about a woman’s sexual awakening. Byzantium has been at the top of your list for a while, is that not a story we’ve seen a million times before? I’m just saying that this movie has lots of gold in it, i guess you just need the right mining tools. I’m not comparing the two films cause they have very different stories. So yeah, I agree with Yumiko I think you got lost in the 3 hour runtime and a second viewing will reveal what you missed that so many other people and critics saw. A good movie. BUT WAIT, I’m not saying that you’re saing this is a BAD movie since yellow means it’s good, just not great. I just think that this has lots of potential and that it is much much MUUUUUUCH more than an ehem, “lesbian f*ckfest”….. which it’s not. <3 :)

  • this is probably as good as it gets when telling a story about a woman’s sexual awakening

    I disagree.

    Byzantium has been at the top of your list for a while, is that not a story we’ve seen a million times before?

    No, it isn’t.

    I think you got lost in the 3 hour runtime and a second viewing will reveal what you missed

    Please tell me: What have I missed that’s so amazing?

  • ♡ Cupcakes ♡

    Re: What have I missed that’s so amazing.

    okay, let me put it in the words of other critics.

    “Raw, honest, powerfully acted, and deliciously intense, Blue Is the Warmest Color offers some of modern cinema’s most elegantly composed, emotionally absorbing drama.” (rottentomatoes)

    – – –

    That, is what 72 out of 80 critics said. (le audience both men and women, also acknowledged that.)

    The critics who didn’t like it complained that it was self-indulgent or the camera had too many close-ups which looked awkward on the big screen. though I don’t think cinematography of all things could bring it down sure, it may have looked a little awkward but it wasn’t nauseating.

    I’m not even going to reply on the Byzantium comment. You who claim to be a “film expert” should know that IT IS.

  • Danielm80

    Critics disagree with each other all the time. That’s why we have critics, and awards ceremonies. Opinions are subjective, and if you read more than one review, you can get a general sense about what the majority view is and which critics you’re likely to agree with.

    Sometimes you won’t agree with any of the critics. For example, the Rotten Tomatoes summary said that the film was “elegantly composed.” You said the cinematography “looked a little awkward.”

    MaryAnn often has a minority opinion, and she isn’t shy about expressing it. That’s why some of us love her, even when we disagree with her. If you disagree with her this strongly, you should probably find a reviewer who’s more in line with your taste. There are apparently 72 of them on Rotten Tomatoes.

    Instead, you’ve spent several days arguing that MaryAnn should like chocolate because it tastes really, really good. Arguing with MaryAnn hasn’t changed her mind, and it seems to be causing you pain. Maybe you should stop.

  • I’m baffled by two things. 1 – the overall enthusiasm for what is a dull melodrama on the level of a UK late night youth drama. 2 – The wild exaggerations of the sex scenes. 15 minutes? You must have seen a different cut than I did. The longest sex scene was no more than 5 minutes at a push

  • goldushapple

    The majority only counts when it’s favorable to such a movie? I thought critics didn’t really matter. Oh wait …

  • goldushapple

    I’m not sure how many hits you get on your site, MaryAnn, but you sure got all the BITWC supporters riled up.

  • ♡ Cupcakes ♡

    We’re not arguing. We’re simply discussing the film. right, @MaryAnnJohanson:disqus ? :)

  • Bluejay

    So, apparently, not only is That Scene problematic for a lot of people (including many lesbians), but the actresses themselves felt horribly abused while they were shooting it as well:

    …the film’s stars Lea Seydoux and Adele Exarchopoulos have [expressed] how Kechiche, in their opinion, terrorized them on set, particularly during the shooting of the film’s now-notorious graphic ten-minute sex scene.”It was horrible,” Seydoux told The Daily Beast, saying that she felt “trapped” and that she’d “never” work with Kechiche again. “There was a kind of manipulation, which was hard to handle,” agreed Exarchopoulos. “Most people don’t dare ask the things that he did.”…both parties fir[ed] off accusations at each other — Kechiche’s letter calls Seydoux an “arrogant and spoiled child” — and Seydoux and Exarchopoulos [remain] steadfast that Kechiche’s treatment of them during the sex-scene shoot left them, as Exarchopoulos says, “ashamed”…

    And it wasn’t just the sex scene, either:

    Adele: …With the fight scene, it was horrible. She was hitting me so many times, and [Kechiche] was screaming, “Hit her! Hit her again!”Lea:In America, we’d all be in jail.You were really hitting her?Adele:Of course! She was really hitting me. And once she was hitting me, there were people there screaming, “Hit her!” and she didn’t want to hit me, she’d say sorry with her eyes and then hit me really hard.Lea: [Kechiche] shot with three cameras, so the fight scene was a one-hour continuous take. And during the shooting, I had to push her out of a glass door and scream, “Now go away!” and [Adele] slapped the door and cut herself and was bleeding everywhere and crying with her nose running, and then after, [Kechiche] said, “No, we’re not finished. We’re doing it again.”

    I know we’re supposed to separate the art from the artist. But “great art” is no excuse for mistreating other human beings. The idea of supporting this movie, with the knowledge that the two real women behind these characters were shamed and abused into their performance, is too much for me. I probably won’t be seeing this film.

  • CB

    That’s not a small amount of screen time… And that’s just the longest one…

    I’m just guessing because I haven’t seen the movie or anything, but it seems unlikely the last 4:30 of the scene said anything the first :30 didn’t (or couldn’t have). So the exaggeration might be in how long it felt. I know a 5 minute action scene can seem like it’s half the movie when it stops moving the narrative.

  • None

    Actually, most of the negatives that the movie received was from MALE critics (just take a look at rottentomatoes). Nearly all the female critics gave it a positive review, and called it art. You lose.

  • None

    No doubt, it’s the “all-nude” part of the movie that irritated MaryAnn. Had it been a topless only movie, I’m sure it would be praised. Or if it were about 2 men going “all-nude”, she would call it edgy and progressive.

    It’s funny how when vaginas are shown on screen, the rarest form of nudity in film, women like MaryAnn kick and scream about the lack of male nudity and no penis on screen. Yet when a movie shows a penis on screen (which happens quite frequently) and no vagina, MaryAnn never says that there is a lack of vagina on screen.

    Vagina – still scaring the crap out of people even in this day and age.

  • Bluejay

    Hello, Tim1974. Still beating that horse, I see.

  • None

    The username is “None”, not sure where “Tim1974” came from, but I didn’t expect a rational, levelheaded response from users on this site anyway, and you proved that point perfectly. Care to make an intelligent response for a change?

  • Danielm80

    This topic has been discussed, endlessly, in the threads about Shame, The Hangover, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Piranha 3DD, and Observe and Report, among others. If you can’t find a rational, levelheaded response on any of those threads, then you may need to seek out another website for intelligent discourse on the important vagina issue.

  • Bluejay

    If you’re not Tim1974, then I’m Joe Biden.

    Your argument doesn’t deserve an intelligent response.

  • Lisa

    As Sir Larry once said, why don’t you try acting? There is no need for them to have physically hit each other. All in all, sounds like a middle aged man’s fantasy.

  • LaSargenta
  • None

    Well I guess you just can’t make an inelligent response, which would in fact make you Joe Biden. It all makes sense now.

  • None

    Shame – MaryAnn claims there should be more penis on screen, yet when someone made mention there is a bigger lack of vagina on screen, she claims showing a vagina would make a film pornographic – in other words, there is no justification for showing vagina even though there is justification for showing penis.

    Hangover – MaryAnn criticizes anyone who complained that there was a penis shown during the end credits, and said essentially that a penis is just a body part and once you’ve seen one flaccid penis, you’ve seen them all. Yet in the Hangover Part 2 film, the BBFC forced the filmmakers to remove the vagina shots during the end credits by threatening them with an 18 certificate. The vagina shots were removed and the movie got a 15 certificate, complete with the penis scenes left in tact. Nowhere did MaryAnn criticize the BBFC and say a vagina is just a body part and once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.

    Piranha 3DD – MaryAnn claims there was no penis in this film, when in fact there were a couple instances of penis shots. She claims women were the victims shown in this film, yet there were more male victims, including graphic male mutilation.

    Observe and Report – MaryAnn claims that a woman’s breasts and a man’s penis are equal body parts (WHAT?!?!) and also falsely stated that female toplessness is illegal in New York (it’s been legal for women to be topless in New York since 1992).

    If you can link me to a website for intelligent discourse on the important vagina issue, please let me know because it’s certainly not found on this site. Make sure the site is not frequented by politically correct liberals – you know, the very people that are scared to death of vaginas, like on this site.

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Why in the world would you expect Daniel to do your research for you?

  • None

    Because Daniel is the one who suggested another website which discusses the important vagina issue, so I would assume he already knows of one (though I’m not holding my breath considering he appears to be one of those who fear vaginas).

  • Dr. Rocketscience

    Well you know what they say happens when you assume.

  • thomskis

    MaryAnn. Two women together can be a staggeringly beautiful, artistic thing. Two men together is inevitably a sweaty, hairy mess. It’s not our fault.

  • Or if it were about 2 men going “all-nude”, she would call it edgy and progressive.

    But that *would* be edgy and progressive!

  • I didn’t expect a rational, levelheaded response from users on this site anyway

    Then why the FUCK did you bother to post here?

  • None

    But 2 women going “all-nude” isn’t edgy and progressive to you? It’s nothing more than pornography? How often do you see that in films, especially Hollywood films? *That* is the problem with your view.

  • None

    Maybe to expose the douchbaggery on this site?

  • Vitaly Klitschko

    If the actresses feel “abused” by their director, perhaps they could return their fees? At any time they could’ve stopped filming. But no. There’s a good reason why actors were formerly considered no better than prostitutes.

  • Bluejay

    Not everyone has the privilege of being able to leave an abusive workplace situation without having to worry about how to provide for themselves or their families.

    Also, even prostitutes (if you want to make that comparison) are human beings who shouldn’t be abused.

    Also, you’re blaming the victim.

  • Danielm80

    Two women in a meaningful sexual relationship is edgy and progressive–just as it would be if the two people were men. Nudity, on the other hand, is something we see pretty often in film.

    You can argue that the sex in this film is explicit enough to be edgy, and you may be right. But the sex scenes are filmed in a way that’s exploitative and voyeuristic. And, sadly, that’s not new at all.

    There are plenty of films that show naked men, but I can’t think of many with long, lingering shots that emphasize how sexy the men’s buttocks and genitals look on film. There are films (many of them produced by Judd Apatow) which show men’s bodies for comic effect. There are films (many of them directed by Steve McQueen) which show naked men to emphasize the characters’ vulnerability. There are fewer movies that use naked men as eye candy.

    Here’s a study from earlier this year:


    It says:

    Females in the top-grossing films of 2012 are more likely than males to be shown in sexy (i.e., tight or alluring) attire (M=7%, F=31.6%) or partially naked (M=9.4%, F=31%), defined as exposing at least some skin in the breast, midriff, or high upper thigh area. Females’ age is related to on-screen hypersexualization.

    When compared to females between 21-39 years of age, in 2012, females 13-20 years of age are more likely to be shown in sexualized attire and partially naked, whereas females 40 to 64 years of age are less likely. The proportion of teenaged females in alluring apparel has increased 22% between 2009 and 2012. A larger overtime increase is observed in the percentage of teenage females depicted with some nudity (+32.5%) between 2007 and 2012.

    If you want to count the number of penises versus the number of vaginas onscreen, go ahead, but you’re ignoring the much larger issues of gender inequality. And it’s kind of silly to argue that men are being oppressed because you have trouble seeing vulvas on the big screen.

  • None

    Nobody is suggesting that there aren’t other issues of gender inequality in films, but that doesn’t mean other things should be oppressed as a result of it. In other words, you can bring up any inequality you want, and I would agree. But *that* should NOT be used as an excuse to not depict certain things in films. Just because a lot of male genital nudity is done in a comedic context does not mean that female genitals should not be shown at all until male genitals are shown in a sexual context. What is this, Genital Correctness? A vagina can’t be funny looking? Of course it can. Vagina jokes are the it thing today, so showing one in a comedic context would only add to the effect. Likewise, it’s silly to think that all male nudity shown is comedic. You must not have heard of Sex and the City, Magic Mike, among others. I would absolutely welcome the depiction of vaginas in comedic manners, but insecure women and easily afraid men who fear vaginas would regard the depiction of vaginas in comedic context as exploitative anyway. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. That’s the problem. When can vaginas be shown that would not result in this reaction?

    Also, if you read what MaryAnn said, she said if they replaced the 2 women with men, that would make it edgy and progressive. How could that be? Just by swapping the genders, it’s a completely different film? I thought you were talking about context, yet just by swapping the genders, it goes from an exploitative film to a good film?

    Any excuse to not show a vagina in film. Vagiphobia, that’s what this should be called.

  • Danielm80

    Yes, there are a few films that sexualize men. There are also quite a few movies that show vaginas. A partial list would include Trance, The Sessions, The Reader, and Movie 43, along with Blue is the Warmest Color. I haven’t seen Movie 43, but I hear that it depicts nudity in a comedic way, or tries to. There may even be more movies with female full-frontal nudity than films that treat men as sex objects. In any case, vaginas aren’t nearly as scarce as you think they are.

    I haven’t seen Sex and the City or Magic Mike. It’s possible that they’re just as exploitative as Blue is the Warmest Color. If so, you have very good reason to find them objectionable. But you really haven’t made a case that men are being exploited on a massive scale, that women aren’t, or that the film we’re discussing has been targeted unfairly.

    As I said earlier, Blue is the Warmest Color. is extremely progressive in some respects. It’s also extremely retrograde in some respects, particularly the gratuitous nudity that started this whole discussion.

    From time to time, a penis shows up in a Hollywood movie, but that’s not because filmmakers are somehow afraid of the vagina. In fact, some filmmakers seem to like them a great deal. And because I’ve typed “vagina” more often in the past few paragraphs than I have in the past several years, I’m going to choose this moment to end this increasingly pointless discussion.

  • None

    You obviously have difficulty understanding my argument. The point is, if showing a vagina is somehow “exploiting” women, then how come showing a penis isn’t exploiting men? Your answer is because penises are shown in a comedic manner, and I said I would welcome the showing of a vagina in a comedic non-sexual manner as well. Equality is what I’m arguing for, and yet you say because things aren’t equal in other areas, that vaginas should not be shown at all. In other words, you are saying 2 wrongs make a right. Not what I was taught.

    You stated Hollywood isn’t afraid of vaginas. How incredibly false. Politically correct liberals have an obvious fear of vaginas, and unfortunately Hollywood is flooded with PC liberals, hence the lack of vagina in Hollywood films, whether comedic or sexual in nature. You must not have been reading MaryAnn’s post after post of how filmmakers have created this ridiculous fear of vaginas, which I absolutely agree with her! But she nor you are helping this cause, only making it worse.

    Let’s look at your ilst of examples:

    Trance – I own this movie, and yes, it does show Rosario Dawson’s (beautiful) vagina. But this is a British film, not a Hollywood film. It was filmed in the UK then brought over here in the US and all the major Hollywood distributors rejected it when it was screened for them, hence it was a limited release film, barely made a blip on the radar. No doubt it was the vagina exposure that caused Hollywood distributors to skip this film, even though the film had a budget of $20 million – on par with wide/mainstream films. I’ll even add another film to your list – “Take This Waltz”, a Canadian, not Hollywood, film where they show a group of women in the locker room showering after a workout. Vaginas were briefly shown (including comedian Sarah Silverman’s). This movie also was screened for major Hollywood distributors and they rejected it as well. I read that the reasoning was the full frontal female nudity, even though it was completely non-sexual. So the film was also a limited release film, essentially, straight to DVD type.

    The Sessions – I own this movie as well, but, yup you guessed it. It was a limited release film because once again the major Hollywood distributors wanted nothing to do with releasing this film as a wide release film. This film was nominated for 2 Golden Globes as well as an Oscar, but major Hollywood distributors failed to pick up on this film, hence limited release, barely a blip on the radar. Guess what body part was shown in this film, identical to the other films mentioned above? Coincidence?

    The Reader – No vagina as far as I can recall, just a brief glimpse of what looked like (fake) pubic hair on Kate Winslet – I believe I read somewhere she said she wore a merkin, which is fake female pubic hair, to conceal her vagina. I’ll add another film to this one called “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay”, where they supposedly show female bottomless nudity in the bottomless pool party scene. Listening to the audio commentary, the filmmakers stated they forced the bottomless girls to wear, you guessed it, merkins because they said they were afraid the girls would be showing “too much labia” (those were their exact words) since they were completely shaved down below, and the filmmakers were afraid the film would be heavily criticized by filmgoers, and ultimately be given an NC-17 because of that. I’m not even sure what “too much labia” even means, maybe an inch is too much, but half an inch is ok? I don’t know.

    Movie 43 – very brief full frontal female nudity was shown, with a woman who appeared to have fake female pubic hair (that merkin thing again), it just looked obviously like fake hair, could be CGI fake hair. No vagina was shown, so fake pubic hair is hardly full frontal.

    Blue is the Warmest Color – not sure if you realized this but this is a French movie, not a Hollywood one. French films show all sorts of graphic nudity, including male, just like this one did (an erect penis was shown in this film, yet only the vagina shots irritated people). I cannot even find 1 movie theater anywhere near me that is playing this film, so I either have to drive for miles upon miles to find some art house theater playing it, or, just like the other limited release movies mentioned, I have to wait for the DVD to come out, who knows when.

    I do not understand why it’s difficult for you to see how feared vaginas are in Hollywood. Films that even dare show vaginas are routinely rejected by all the major Hollywood distributors when the films are screened for them. The same distributors have no problem distributing films with penises in them, even though they know the films will tank at the box office.

    This is clearly having a negative impact. For starters, men are no longer interested in what Hollywood has to offer, hence the lackluster ticket sales in recent years as men are finding other forms of entertainment. The other problem is plastic surgery among women and their genitals (labiaplasty) is at record highs today, surpassing other forms of plastic surgery. What messages are women getting about their genitals from Hollywood when films are rejected for daring to show vaginas in them? Probably the same message you are conveying by claiming you refuse to even say the word vagina anymore. You can’t even handle the word, no way you can handle seeing the body part. That explains everything.

  • Danielm80

    You’re right. I have difficulty understanding your argument. I genuinely have no idea what point you’re trying to make, and based on this post, and your previous comments, I doubt that further discussion will make it any more coherent.

  • Dr Sook

    I think this review misses the point of the filmmaking. It is not simply a character-driven narrative which would be amiss in omitting the issues with Adele’s family, etc.
    It is a film designed to evoke a feeling- oppressive, intimate, like being a person inside one’s own head. The close-ups were so relentless that a medium shot felt like ‘fresh air.’ While flawed by it’s indulgent length & mostly tedious sex scenes, Blue should be seen as capturing something of being a young girl, a fierce honest blast off, an unbearable crash, the movement of life– crushing, draining, lost.

  • None

    Of course a person who is afraid of vaginas as you clearly are would have difficulty understanding why anyone would call for vaginas to be shown in films and would come up with any excuse not to show them in films under any circumstances as you’ve clearly demonstrated.

    Let me take a wild guess – based on your fear of vaginas, you must be a politically correct liberal right? Just call me Nostradamus.

  • Danielm80

    I have no objection to films that show vaginas. I do object when the nudity is gratuitous and exploitative.

    If you have nothing to contribute but straw-man arguments and name-calling, then I think this discussion is over.

  • None

    So how come you say vaginas should not be shown until penises are shown in a sexual manner? And how is the nudity in this film “gratuitous and exploitative” yet if we switch the genders, it becomes “edgy and progressive”?

    Funny how you defend penises being shown in comedic manners (in Apatow films) and yet to you that form of male nudity is never gratuitous and exploitative. I guarantee if they show vaginas in exactly the same way, you would definitely object. I did say I would absolutely welcome vaginas being shown in a comedic manner, but you keep coming up with excuses not to show something like that.

  • ♡ Cupcakes ♡

    Yes, I also agree that this review slightly missed the point. But regarding the sex scenes, I being a woman see it differently, I didn’t see anything masturbatory, I saw it as the director telling us that sex is part of what makes us human and, considering this movie wanted to focus on ALL aspects of this girl’s life, showing the sex in full detail was a good call.

    I do have to wonder, what if the roles were switched and this was a gay love story rather than a lesbian one? I mean an older guy picking up a younger guy from school in front of his friends, or a graphic male sex scene that lasted 15 minutes straight? I wonder what the reaction would be..?

  • Dr Sook

    Tsk tsk- you assumed a Dr=a man!,
    I never observed any masturbatory issues, only that, as a film, the balance felt needlessly off by xs length of sex scene which was not especially illuminating of the relationship nor erotic.
    As far as imagining a gay love story- think of Beautiful Laundrette….maybe HBO’s Looking (although that looks a bit leering.)

  • Drave

    Anyway, we all know (as elegantly stated in Zack and Miri Make a Porno) everybody wants to see anybody fuck.

  • Danielm80

    I’m pretty sure Blue is the Warmest Color disproves the rule. People in the theatre were staring at their watches.

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