Blue Is the Warmest Color (Abdellatif Kechiche, 2013)
It's at least half an hour too long, and the sex scenes inevitably have something exploitative about them, but Blue Is the Warmest Color remains exceptional in large part because it's one of the most intimate portraits of a human relationship on film. The jury at Cannes was right in citing not only the director but also the two actresses, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux, when it gave the film the Palme D'Or. Exarchopoulos in particular demonstrates a rare courage, not for exposing her body but for allowing the rawness of her emotions to show forth. There are moments when her character, Adèle (Kechiche changed the character's name from "Clémentine" when he cast her), becomes almost pitiable in her helpless infatuation with Seydoux's Emma, Exarchapoulos's fresh beauty becoming disfigured in her portrayal of Adèle's suffering at the inability to make the kind of fusion she desires with Emma. It's a fable about the limitations of love that transcends sexual orientation. The film's NC-17 rating once again demonstrates the wrong-headedness of the American ratings board's approach to sexuality, as opposed to its blithe acceptance of any extreme of violence in film.