A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blue Is the Warmest Color is a French drama with English subtitles that chronicles a high school girl as she matures emotionally and sexually over about 10 years. It has very explicit sex with full nudity and graphic depictions of sex acts, mostly between two women, but one with a man also briefly shows an erect penis. As Adele falls for Emma, she encounters some homophobia at school, and it's not clear she's ever honest with her parents about their relationship. Aside from the sexual content, the appeal to teens is likely limited. The movie spends a lot of time on philosophical discussions, at first in the classroom and then among adult friends, using conversational dialogue to explore a host of issues that confront Adele as she learns who she is, and it does so for a solid three hours. Teens and adults often drink beer and wine with meals; excess is rarely shown. Lots of people smoke frequently, including the two main protagonists. Expect lots of profanity, with "f--k," "s--t," and variations used frequently.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, Adele has had her share of heartbreak and frustration when it comes to high school romance. She becomes intrigued by a young woman with blue hair whom she sees around town. Adele finally tracks Emma down, and the two strike up a friendship that turns into something much more. Through her relationship with Emma, Adele matures in many ways. But the lesson that one mistake can cost you everything is one she'll have to learn the hard way.
Is it any good?
Director Abdellatif Kechiche gets amazing performances out of two young actresses and gives the viewer a lot to think about. The explicit sex certainly grabs the attention, but Blue Is the Warmest Color offers the adult viewer a great deal more to ponder. Teens, though, are unlikely to have the patience to sit through three hours of extended literature- and philosophy-class discussions or the equally extensive adult conversations along the same lines.
The title in French includes (in translation) "Chapters 1 and 2," suggesting there may be more chapters to come, which makes the excessive length less understandable. The lack of an ending, though, is much more understandable, if not less frustrating, once you know you've only seen the beginning of Adele's life.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the graphic sex in Blue Is the Warmest Color. How much is OK for kids to see?
Does all the smoking make it seem glamorous or cool? Is it realistic? What are some of the dangers of smoking?
Notice the pressure Adele feels from her friends at school and later from Emma's art-school friends. How do they differ, if at all? How do you respond to peer pressure?
- In theaters: May 23, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: February 25, 2014
- Cast: Lea Seydoux, Adele Exarchopoulos
- Director: Abdellatif Kechiche
- Studios: Quat'sous Films, Wild Bunch
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Friendship, High School
- Run time: 180 minutes
- MPAA rating: NC-17
- MPAA explanation: Explicit sexual content
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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