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Is blue is the warmest color lgbtq?

Blue Is the Warmest Color (French: La Vie d’Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2) is a 2013 French romance film directed, co-produced, and co-written by Abdellatif Kechiche, and co-written by Ghalia Lacroix, based on the 2010 French graphic novel of the same name by Julie Maroh. The film follows Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos), a French teenager who discovers love and her true self when she begins a relationship with Emma (Léa Seydoux), a blue-haired aspiring painter. The film covers approximately ten years of their relationship from Adèle’s high school years to her early adult life as a schoolteacher.


Adèle is an introverted 15-year-old high-school student whose classmates gossip constantly about boys. While crossing the street one day, she passes by a woman with short blue hair and is instantly attracted. She later dates and has sex with a boy from her school named Thomas, but is ultimately dissatisfied and breaks off their relationship. After having vivid fantasies about the woman she saw on the street and having one of her female friends briefly attempt to seduce her, she becomes troubled about her sexual identity.

One day in a lesbian bar, Adèle sees the blue-haired woman again. The woman is Emma, a graduating art student. Adèle and Emma eventually begin seeing each other, and their connection deepens quickly. The film depicts explicit sex scenes between them as their relationship becomes more committed. Adèle’s friends suspect her of being a lesbian and ostracize her. Despite the backlash, she becomes close to Emma.

LGBTQ Themes

Blue Is the Warmest Color very explicitly depicts a romantic and sexual relationship between two women, making it an important piece of LGBTQ cinema. Here are some of the key ways it explores LGBTQ themes:

  • Coming out – The film shows Adèle realizing her attraction to women, acting on it for the first time, and eventually coming out to those close to her.
  • Self-discovery – Much of the film revolves around Adèle discovering her identity as she transitions to adulthood.
  • Same-sex intimacy – The film features extensive and intimate love scenes between Adèle and Emma, rare for a mainstream film.
  • Homophobia – Adèle faces backlash from friends due to her relationship with Emma.
  • LGBTQ inclusion – The story provides representation of lesbian characters and relationships.

The film was noted for its frank depiction of sexuality and received critical acclaim, winning the Palme d’Or at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. While some criticized the male gaze of the director, overall the film was seen as a milestone for the normalization and celebration of LGBTQ stories in film.

Critical Reception

Blue Is the Warmest Color received widespread critical acclaim, particularly for Exarchopoulos and Seydoux’s performances. The film holds a 89% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 183 reviews, with an average score of 7.60/10. The site’s consensus states: “Raw, honest, powerfully acted, and deliciously intense, Blue Is the Warmest Color offers some of modern cinema’s most elegantly composed, emotionally absorbing drama.” On Metacritic, the film has a score of 88 out of 100, based on 43 critics, indicating “universal acclaim”.

Leslie Felperin of The Hollywood Reporter wrote: “An intimate, unpredictable and delicately nuanced love story, adorned with beguiling freshness and warmth by newcomer Adèle Exarchopoulos in the lead role.” Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian said that it was “a remarkably unsentimental, rigorous and intensely erotic drama which picked up the Palme d’Or this year at Cannes after wowing the festival critics.”

The film drew some criticism for its depictions of sexuality. Manohla Dargis of The New York Times wrote: “As the camera hovers over bodies locked in the act of sex, grinding and thrusting in the usual ways, the film feels far more about Mr. Kechiche’s desires than anything else.” But overall, critics praised the intimacy and realism of the sex scenes as differentiating the film from more commercial or idealized depictions of sex in cinema.


Despite praise for the film, Blue Is the Warmest Color sparked several controversies:

  • Male gaze – Some critics argued that the sex scenes represented an objectifying male perspective from the male director.
  • Working conditions – Exarchopoulos and Seydoux complained about Kechiche’s demanding and hostile on-set behavior, including requiring them to work 16-hour days.
  • Representation – Julie Maroh, author of the source material, felt the film failed to properly represent lesbian sexuality from a female viewpoint.

These controversies sparked debate about the ethics of depicting sexuality in cinema, appropriate on-set conduct, and representation in films with LGBTQ themes. They demonstrated the scrutiny mainstream films face when portraying intimate minority experiences.

Impact and Legacy

Despite the controversies, Blue Is the Warmest Color had a powerful impact and legacy:

  • It brought unprecedented mainstream visibility to LGBTQ films and stories.
  • The actresses’ performances were widely praised as groundbreaking and authentic.
  • It inspired more films to portray sexuality and LGBTQ experiences in intimate and realistic ways.
  • The film won the Palme d’Or, indicating the high regard for its artistry and message.
  • It provoked important conversations about ethics in filmmaking and representation in cinema.

Overall, Blue Is the Warmest Color had a lasting effect for its unflinching and sensual portrayal of a lesbian romance. It demonstrated that such stories deserve unconstrained presentation like heterosexual relationships have historically received in film. The film empowered more authentic LGBTQ storytelling in cinema.


Blue Is the Warmest Color is undoubtedly an important LGBTQ film. Its intimate and lengthy portrayal of a lesbian relationship was incredibly rare for a widely distributed film. It presented same-sex love and sexuality in raw, uninhibited ways that received great acclaim. However, its production controversies also sparked valid critiques. By sparking conversation about LGBTQ representation, the ethics of filming sexual content, and inherent power dynamics in cinema, the film had a wide-reaching cultural impact. Blue Is the Warmest Color proved that LGBTQ stories warrant major international platforms like Cannes. The film stands as a milestone in the ongoing pursuit of diverse representation and empowerment in cinema.