Blue is the Warmest Color is one of 2013’s best

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Forget everything you’ve read, heard, or seen about the controversies surrounding “Blue is the Warmest Colour,” the Cannes winner that opens today in Buffalo.

The plot is, in some ways, simple: Teenager Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) meets Emma (Léa Seydoux), a college art student, and the two fall in love. During the course of the three-hour film, we see the highs and lows of their passionate relationship. But the film is much more complex, much more involving, much more vivid than that. It is, I think, one of the finest films ever made about young love.

Adèle is one of recent cinema’s most intriguing characters. In some ways, she feels very young (she still plays with her hair), in others extremely mature (she quickly determines that she does not want to be with her boyfriend). Emma is no less complex. She is smart and hard-edged, creative and loyal.

The moment when Adèle and Emma meet is electric — life, and the film itself, almost seem to skip a beat. That is what “Blue” is all about for me: that instance when life seems to hit a key turning point.

Yes, the film features several graphic, extended sex sequences. But they are only a small part of director Abdellatif Kechiche’s creation. The emotion is what stands out, and that is what makes those scenes memorable, not how graphic they are.

I hesitate to say much about the film, honestly, because I think going in as clean as possible makes a difference. Don’t let the backstory and current controversies color your opinions, and instead let the film draw you in.

“I have infinite tenderness for you. I always will,” says Emma late in the film. The viewer feels that tenderness — and shares it. What a great love story this is, and what a glorious portrayal of two unique people. “Blue is the Warmest Color” is one of the best film’s of this year.