This is not a review of Blue is the Warmest Color (this movie is great, go see it now), but an exposition on the train(wreck) of events unfurled between the main character Adele and her girlfriend/ex-girlfriend Emma.
How long does it take for you to completely heal and move forward after a breakup? I remember an episode of Sex and the City where the girl pack decided “half the amount of time you spent in the relationship” is a rightful period for completing your Freudian “Five Stages of Grief” post breakup:
Denial…(this cannot be over)
Anger…(THIS CANNOT BE OVER)
Bargaining…(please, I’ll do anything for this not to be over)
Depression…(this is really over)
Acceptance (This is over. Period).
Depending on which side of the tracks you are on (bearer or receiver of the breakup news), stages of grief may vary. I think the thought is unanimous however, that if you are not ready for the final scene, regardless of your stance, forgiving, forgetting, and moving forward from the ashes of a burned relationship takes time.
And this is exactly why I find time-stamping your recovery period irrelevant. The mind is an irrational fortress when it comes to feelings and emotions, and curbing the 24-7 nostalgia footage of your ex and yourself enthralled in love during the best of times has no visible expiration date during your solitary worst of times. A personal note before I jump down the emotional rabbit hole that is Blue is the Warmest Color; it was not until recently I was finally able to move on from a one month relationship I was in years ago. Our time together was literallly a blip in my dating radar. After he ended our relationship I gave myself time to heal: I cried it out (hard, in public, at night, on the phone, you name it), I ate sweets, I moped around my apartment, I consoled with my friends… I told myself “there’s more fish in the sea”, “he wasn’t that great anyway”, “this is great because now I can focus on me”… and all the other relationship tropes we tell ourselves to affirm a decision that was completely out of our control. My powerlessness and my lack of authority regarding my past relationship ending was the reason my grieving lasted for so long: it was having something I so cherished ripped from my arms without my consent that persevered my denial.
Those that hold the Power are always the victors. Blue is the Warmest Color’s captivating cinematography gracefully portrays the personal perspective of a young girl growing together with a woman she loves only to lose her because of her own irresponsible actions, and her emotional realization that she may never reunite with this woman she loved so dearly. We are voyeurs watching Adele mature from a confused adolescent to Emma’s passionate lover. Emma was her first, and Adele wanted her to be the last. However, Emma was unable to forgive and forget Adele’s heterosexual indiscretions. We watch Adele navigate her lonely life and even after years, she is unable to truly move on from Emma.
Our culture is more interested in moving on than grieving. Our friends tell us that dating is a great way to forget an ex-flame, and we will all soon find the person who we are truly meant to be with.
This movie actualizes a thought so repressed to our contemporary cultures’ accelerated postmortem breakup period: you may never move on. It is possible the person you left (or left you) was the person of your dreams and your life partner, and you will never find fulfillment comparable to that past relationship. As you float through consecutive failed relationships, your life is no longer a simple loop through the stages of grief, but becomes a continuous spiral, and after acceptance, grief rears its weary head and you again plunge to the depths of denial about the one that got away.
Adele may never move beyond Emma. But, she will live.
Go see this movie. It’s an existential rollercoaster, and it’s worth it.
- La Vie d’Adéle (Blue is the Warmest Color) (2013) – dir. Abdellatif Kechiche (filmslikedreams.wordpress.com)
- Anatomy of a Scene: Video of ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (mizantrop.info)
- ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ review: a masterpiece (sfgate.com)
- Review: Blue is the Warmest Color (thefilmexperience.net)
- Movie Review: ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color,’ Directed by Abdellatif Kechiche (nytimes.com)
- Movie Review | ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ depicts incredibly candid love story (tuftsdaily.com)