As a young girl in grade school, Adèle appears shy and timid about the latest guy to show interest her way. While she strikes up a conversation with Thomas on the bus and agrees to go out with him, she gets surprised when she spots a blue-haired woman before her date that steals her breath away. Struggling with how she feels about her relationship and intimacy with Thomas, she eventually lets him go and goes out to a gay bar with her friend Valentin. While out, she wanders out of the bar and into a lesbian bar, where she spots the same blue-haired woman. Eventually, Emma comes over and strikes up a conversation with her. The two begin a friendship that blossoms into a true romance, with Adèle serving as Emma’s artistic muse. As their relationship continues, Adèle begins to struggle with feeling a detachment growing between them and begins to stray herself.
Starring: Adèle Exarchopoulos (Adèle), Léa Seydoux (Emma), Salim Kechiouche (Samir), Aurélien Recoing (Père Adèle), Catherine Salée (Mère Adèle), Benjamin Siksou (Antoine), Mona Walravens (Lise), Alma Jodorowsky (Béatrice), Jérémie Laheurte (Thomas), Sandor Funtek (Valentin), Anne Loiret (Mère Emma), Benoît Pilot (Beau Père Emma)
Adèle portrayed her character as quite the complex and emotional character. Though she got emotional fairly often throughout the film, she cleverly displayed the challenges of working through one’s sexuality while also being a young woman sorting through the trials of love. Léa may have portrayed the artist of the relationship but she served as the muse to welcome her partner into adulthood. Mona, Benjamin, and Jérémie each served as kind individuals who unknowingly challenged the protagonists in their pursuit of love.
Abdellatif Kechiche’s romantic drama followed the progression of Adèle into adulthood and as she explored her sexuality through her relationship with Emma. Adèle socialized amongst a very judging, intrusive crowd of teenagers, which seemed to play into her shyness. When Emma entered into her life, there was something mysterious that erupted inside of her and compelled her to explore what seemed like a taboo relationship. She realized that she shared a seriously intense relationship with Emma but also struggled to understand how to share that side of her with her friends and family. In the end, she hid Emma’s real connection from her parents and disconnected from her friends. Instead, she adopted Emma’s friends and lifestyle as she accepted her new identity as a lesbian.
As their relationship continued, Adèle began to realize that sexuality may not be completely rigid. While she seemed to have enjoyed her experiences with both Thomas and Emma, she was not able to ignore the feelings that began to arise with other men around her. Samir made an impression with her at the garden party, but nothing arose from their conversation. Instead, her new friend at her school finally convinced her to go out drinking and dancing with him. After sharing a passionate kiss, she felt guilty about betraying Emma. This did not stop her from going out again and sleeping with him a couple of times before getting caught. Emma challenges Adèle and eventually broke her down. Their fight led to their breakup and subsequent depression of Adèle. While Adèle never seemed to recover, she eventually got a chance to recover their friendship. Leaving Adèle in an unfamiliar place, she never definitively determined that she was a lesbian or bi/omnisexual.
This exploration of sexuality with elements of literature and art woven into the story made this experience an exciting and graphic account of Adèle’s life. While the graphic nature may be a little too much for some, it encapsulates the complexity of love and romance.
Dan’s Rating: 4.0/5