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Blue Is the Warmest Color (La Vie d'Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2, 2013) is a 2013 romance film co-written, co-produced and directed by Abdellatif Kechiche, starring Adèle Exarchopoulos as Adèle and Léa Seydoux as Emma. It is an adaptation of the comic of the same name, retaining nearly all of its plot except for the final third.

Introverted teenager Adèle becomes attracted to the mysterious, beautiful Emma, which eventually causes her to question her sexuality. After she meets Emma again, the two begin a relationship, but the years that follow begin to drive a wedge between them.

With its very, very open depictions of sexuality and nudity (which is what the film is exclusively known for in some circles), it earned an NC-17 rating.



  • Adaptational Alternate Ending: The film ignores the source material's reconciliation and eventual Downer Ending, leaving the leads broken up and Adèle going her own way.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: The characters in the comic book are by no means unattractive, but not nearly as strikingly beautiful as Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos.
  • Adaptational Heroism: In the comics, Clémentine's parents are homophobic bigots who eventually kick their daughter out of their home when they find out about her relationship with Emma. In the movie, while Adèle does hide her relationship with Emma from her parents, they are never hinted to be homophobic.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Unlike the graphic novel, the film focuses more on Adèle's character growth and the development of her relationships.
  • Adaptation Name Change: Clémentine becomes Adèle.
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  • Adaptation Title Change: The original French title is La Vie d'Adèle – Chapitres 1 & 2 (The Life of Adele, Chapter 1 & 2) and is based on the comic Le Bleu est une couleur chaude (Blue is a warm color). Averted in the English localization where the title remained unchanged.
  • All Gays Are Promiscuous: Adèle sleeps with a male colleague from the school that she works for. She did so out of crippling insecurity and paralyzing fear that Emma is becoming more distant and even turns her down for sex. By her reaction, it appears that this has never happened before.
  • Anguished Declaration of Love:
    • Adèle gives one in tears as Emma breaks up with her and removes her and her things out of her house.
    • Adèle delivers another one to Emma after reuniting with her months after their break-up.
  • Author Appeal: The film is very much a case study of Kechiche's trademark styles and personal preferences:
    • Kechiche explicitly said that he modeled the film after his favorite novel La Vie de Marianne, an unfinished French classic by Pierre Marivaux.
    • Adèle Exarchopoulos said it herself that Kechiche has a fondness for the "derrière" so much that he lovingly shot the statues at the museum by focusing on their rear ends.
    • One trademark of Kechiche is his fondness for close-ups. This worked well for the film since its naturalistic acting perfectly captured every emotion on Adèle's face and made their expressions appear larger than life.
  • Author Avatar: According to director Abdellatif Kechiche, aspiring actor Samir is a stand-in for him as he asks Adèle if the intimacy with women is different from men.
  • Bifauxnen: Emma, during both halves of the film.
  • Big Eater: Adèle.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Adèle might have lost the love of her life but after her closure in the café and finally accepting that she has to continue living without Emma, she is finally ready to accept that they weren't meant to be together, move on and find herself.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • Adèle repeatedly denying to Emma that the guy who dropped her off is having an affair with her.
    Emma: I'm not dumb. How long have you been sleeping with him?
    Adele: I'm not sleeping with him.
    • After a night spent talking with Lise, Emma tells Adèle that they can't have sex because she's on her period; Adèle mentions that she used the same excuse recently. This, along with Adèle's inability to participate in the high culture conversation at the dinner she arranged, shows the first cracks in her relationship with Emma.
  • Book Dumb: Thomas isn't much of an academic, but he's a talented musician who can learn by ear and by watching videos.
  • Bookends: Adèle hears hangdrum music the first time she sees Emma, and then again after she says her final farewell to her at the end of the film.
  • Book Worm: Emma and Adèle, but they have completely different reasons for reading. Emma reads to analyze, while Adèle reads to fantasize.
  • Boyfriend Bluff: Emma wards off a girl who flirts with Adèle in the bar by pretending to be her cousin.
  • Boyish Short Hair: Emma wears her hair short whatever its color. She's a lesbian, and butch in her style.
  • Break the Cutie: Adèle, having quietly suffered while growing distant from Emma, is devastated when their relationship ends, and she spends three years miserable without Emma. Only at the end, when she finally gets closure, is she able to put herself back together and begin to move on.
  • Brick Joke: Emma explains Jean-Paul Sartre's existentialism by saying that existence precedes essence earlier in the film. In the third sex scene when Emma jokingly asks Adèle on how she finds her philosophy lessons, she laughs and said that it was enriching, deep, intense, and that [orgasm precedes essence.
  • Cat Fight: Between Adèle and her classmate in the school yard.
  • Cerebus Callback:
    • Adèle and Emma spend a lot of time flirting and hanging out on a park bench in the first chapter. In the second, she's sleeping on it alone, desperate to feel those happy memories again.
    • Adèle has a glass of white wine the first time she visits Emma's parents and comments that she doesn't know much about white. After she and Emma, broken up, meet in a cafe, she's drinking wine again and not-so-casually tries to goad Emma into drinking some. Emma orders coffee instead, a sign that she's past those memories.
  • The Charmer: The suave, confident Emma easily makes Adèle fall for her, keeping her attention in the bar and getting her to pose for her.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Almost none of the characters, major or minor, from the first part of the movie appear in the second. Adèle's co-worker also drops off the face of the earth after she has a brief affair with him, even before she's moved to a different class.
  • Closet Key: While Adèle doesn't identify as lesbian or bisexual nor is the film clear on where she places on the Kinsey Scale, Emma serves as this for her since she found out that she can be attracted to women too.
  • Color Motif: Blue is the predominant color in the film and is the most common recurring element.
  • Comfort Food: Adèle turns to candy bars and other sweets for comfort when she's depressed.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: The film's more accurate title is Life of Adèle: Chapters 1 and 2 rather than Blue is the Warmest Color. The film is more of a chronicle of how Adèle transitions from adolescence to adulthood rather than a lesbian love story even though their relationship is the centerpiece of Adele's life.
  • Adèle's lovemaking with Thomas and her discontented reaction afterwards compared to the overwhelming tears that she had after she and Emma make love for the first time.
  • Emma and Adèle's dinner with Emma's mom and stepfather who are supportive of her homosexuality and passion in art, compared to Adèle's parents when the couple had dinner at their home. Adèle's parents are more concerned with practical matters such as money and prioritizing it over one's artistic pursuits. Additionally, her father is apparently reserved about Emma's tomboyish appearance.
  • Cocky, suave, and flirtatious Emma in the bar, compared to the older, sensitive, and more quiet Emma in the café
  • The whole of Chapter 1 and all of Chapter 2.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Emma's blue hair goes nicely with her blue eyes.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Adèle masturbates while dreaming about Emma and was visibly upset and in tears when she realizes this.
  • Dead Artists Are Better: Adèle's mother remarks that most painters earn a lot only when they're dead upon knowing that Emma actively pursues success in her painting, which also serves as juxtaposition to Adèle meeting Emma's parents most especially her mother, who was visibly surprised when she told them that she wants to be a schoolteacher. While she may not understand Adèle's motivation, she and Emma's stepfather are glad for her that she already knows what she wants to do for a career.
  • Dead Sparks: It's implied Emma is having an affair with Lise because she's lost interest in Adèle.
  • Demoted to Extra: Adèle's parents, Emma's girlfriend Sabine and Valentin have smaller roles in the movie.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: When Adèle has an affair of her own out of being lonely and desperate for intimacy, it's portrayed as being equally desperate and miserable.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Despite Emma and Adèle making up and sharing a passionate kiss in a cafe, Emma remains in a committed relationship with Lise. After going to one of Emma's exhibitions, Adèle realizes that her former lover really has moved on, and that she needs to as well, and walks home alone.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Getting milk naked, in a house where no one knows your girlfriend is a lesbian, ends as badly as you would expect.
  • Disposable Fiancé:
    • Thomas, Adèle's boyfriend, who she quickly dumps.
    • Sabine, Emma's girlfriend, is quickly dumped too.
  • Does Not Like Spam: Adèle initially refuses to eat shellfish until Emma introduces it to her.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Thomas, the boy whom Adèle lost her virginity to.
  • Erotic Eating: Emma educates Adèle on how to eat oysters. The blatant metaphor is lost on no one.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Adèle is shown voraciously and sloppily eating bolognese, showing that, while she's somewhat clumsy and unrefined, she's hungry to consume everything life has to offer.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: Adèle gets the positive attention and compliments of Beatrice, a female friend.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: Emma's change of hair color is indicative not only of the three years gap after the break-up with Adèle, but her own personal growth towards becoming a mature partner and artist.
  • Faux Yay: Beatrice, while Adèle took their kiss to mean something...
  • The First Cut Is the Deepest: Adèle remains desperately in love with Emma years after they've broken up, unable to move on. Only when she realize things really are over between them does she close the book on their relationship.
  • Fish out of Water: Adèle is pretty obviously out of her depth when she goes to a lesbian bar for the first time as an ostensibly straight girl, which all the other patrons (including Emma) quickly notice.
  • Foil: Adèle and Emma to each other.
  • Foreshadowing: Adèle says that the only painter she knows is Picasso. Picasso has a blue period and a red period. Emma sports blue hair in Chapter 1 and goes back to blonde at the beginning of Chapter 2. It is an indication that the relationship between them has changed. It is also mentioned outright by one of Emma's friends in the gallery who compares her paintings that she did during her relationship with Adèle and years after their separation.
  • Gay Best Friend: Valentin is Adèle's best friend. He gives her advice about her heterosexual relationship with Thomas. Then, the trope is subverted, because Adèle engages in a homosexual relationship. Valentin remains a very supportive and understanding friend when he defends and consoles Adèle from their homophobic classmates.
  • Gayngst: Played straight with Adèle in the bullying scene and in the aftermath where she's crying silently and having difficulty concentrating in class. It is almost nonexistent for the entirety of the movie since the marginalization of Adèle being closeted at work wasn't emphasized. Averted with Emma.
  • Get Out!: Emma is so furious when she learns about Adèle's betrayal that she deems the relationship damage irreversible. She orders Adèle to remove all of her stuff from her house and to get out of her life.
  • Gossipy Hens: Adèle's female friends in school who are excited that the best-looking guy in their school likes her and are constantly badgering her for details when they see her the morning after their first date.
  • The Grovel: The café scene. It didn't work. Poor Adèle.
  • Has Two Mommies: Emma and Lise to their three-year-old daughter, Aude.
  • Held Gaze: The pivotal moment in Adèle's life is when she and Emma first laid eyes on each other.
  • Hope Spot:
    • For Adèle, her kiss with Béatrice is a chance to explore her budding lesbian feelings, and a chance at real connection and passion — only for Béatrice to turn her down, saying it meant nothing.
    • After they're separated for years, Adèle meets with Emma at a cafeteria and grovels to try to win her back. Though Emma admits she'll always love Adèle and that she misses the passion of their relationship, she's moved on and they'll never get back together.
  • Hot Teacher: It would be easier to make a list of those who don't want to have Adèle as their pre-school teacher.
  • Idealized Sex: The famous sex scene is Adèle's first time with a woman. Despite this, everything goes perfectly smoothly, with no instructions, awkwardness, fumbling, etc.
  • I Didn't Mean to Turn You On: Adèle's classmate explains this after they shared a not so innocent kiss.
  • Imagine Spot: When Adèle masturbates while dreaming about Emma, Emma is briefly seen making love with her.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Adèle doesn't go easy on the snot when she's sobbing. This happens most prominently in the café scene where her heartbreak is totally sympathetic and gut-wrenching upon hearing Emma say that she no longer loves her.
  • Inspiration Nod: Adèle studies Marivaux's La Vie de Marianne in class. The director drew his inspiration from this book to write the script. The French title, La Vie d'Adèle, is a direct reference.
  • Irony: Adèle and Emma are initially drawn together because of their differences in personality and interests, which end up driving them apart in the end as Emma moves on to date someone who's more like her. As an extra layer of irony, Adèle turns down Thomas because she believes they have little in common.
  • It Doesn't Mean Anything: Beatrice claims that kissing Adèle was only due to a "spur of the moment" thing.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Joachim condescendingly expounds on the mysticism of the female orgasm, which he seems to have no actual experience with.
  • Love at First Sight: Adèle and Emma have an immediate connection when they first see each other. Deconstructed when both girls realize that such a connection has to be nurtured for a relationship to last, and their initial chemistry couldn't account for their inherent, irreconcilable differences.
  • Love Hurts: The dizzying passion Adèle and Emma experience at the start of the film comes crashing down in a slow death spiral when it becomes clear that Emma, who appears to be Adèle's sole close relationship by the second half, is growing increasingly distant and aloof. After an extremely painful breakup for both sides, Adèle suffers for years wanting Emma back, going so far as to grovel in public for her to come back. It doesn't work, though Emma does admit she'll always have some feelings for Adèle.
    Emma: I have infinite tenderness for you. I always will. All my life.
  • Lover and Beloved: While Emma is not primarily a mentor to Adèle, she is regarded as the more educated and more worldly partner in the relationship. She also educates Adèle not only through her interests but also in their sexual encounters as Adèle becomes more and more comfortable through Emma's guidance.
  • Male Frontal Nudity: The audience is treated to a brief shot of Thomas's genitals.
  • Masculine–Feminine Gay Couple: Emma and Adèle. Emma is the more masculine, and Adèle the more feminine.
  • Measuring the Marigolds: Adèle explains that she does not like it when a teacher dissects literature into pieces for study for it hampers her imagination and it prevents her from fully experiencing the intricacy of emotions that she gets from reading. In contrast, Emma enjoys analytically dissecting art.
  • Meet the In-Laws: Emma's mother and stepfather invite Adèle and Emma for dinner. Later, Emma meets Adèle's parents, but Adèle does not tell them that she is her lover.
  • The Missus and the Ex: Emma looks a little nervous when Lise (Emma's common-law wife by the end of the film) approaches ex Adèle for friendly conversation during the exhibition.
  • The Modest Orgasm: Emma is impressed Adèle managed to stay so quiet when they have sex with the latter's parents only just downstairs.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Adèle and Emma are this in spades with their extended sex scene. It was probably supposed to be seen as passionate and heartwarming, but given the fact it lasts six minutes long and involves positions one could often find in pornography, it definitely counts as this. And sadly, there are some viewers who find this more memorable than the actual movie. They both also show some nudity at other times, plus Adèle has a far less explicit, shorter scene of having sex with her boyfriend.
  • The Muse: Adèle becomes an art model for Emma. Also Real Life Writes the Plot because the actress also serves as the muse for the director.
  • Muse Abuse: Intentionally or not, Emma does this to Adèle.
  • No Bisexuals: There's a criticism of the movie being painted as a "lesbian love story" when Adèle is shown to be capable of having romantic tension and sexual affairs with men. The fact that the film doesn't choose to explore Adèle's possible bisexuality doesn't help.
  • Nonconformist Dyed Hair: The beautiful and mysterious art student Emma is first identified by her striking blue dye job, which Adele cannot get out of her mind.
  • Oh, Crap!: Adèle realizing that Emma knows about her affair.
  • The Oner: The film is full of long, meandering shots to establish it as a portrait of Adèle's everyday life.
  • Opposites Attract: Deconstructed. Adèle and Emma intrigue each other due to their differences, which initially help balance each other out, but it doesn't work out in the long run, and it becomes clear their differences in ambition and values are just too strong to ignore.
  • Pride Parade: Adèle and Emma participate in one, which featured prominently in some of the film's promotional stills.
  • Protagonist Title: The full title in French is La Vie d'Adèle: Chapitres 1 et 2.
  • Pun: Emma humorously waives Adèle's comments that she just "wandered" into the lesbian bar by chance by saying that she's drinking Goudale, a beer brand that is the usual order by some of the regulars. Emma took a delightful spin into the word by referring to the beer as the preferred brand of goudou, a French colloquial term for lesbian or butch. Even Emma was so self-aware of her prosaic joke that she laughs at it.
  • Queer Romance: Adèle, who'd thought of herself as wholly straight, falls for openly lesbian Emma. They start a relationship, but have to go through many difficulties.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Adèle is passionate, emotional and instinctive while Emma is more cerebral, intellectual, and self-possessed. Ultimately this ends up working against them, as Adèle's desperate need for emotional intimacy clashes with Emma's aloofness.
  • Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Adèle reads for romantic imagination, while Emma prefers studying to learn new ideas.
  • Second-Act Breakup: Rule of Drama dictates that Emma and Adèle had to break up in second act. Unlike usual romance movies, Adèle's attempt of The Grovel in the third act doesn't bring them back together.
  • Secret Relationship: Adèle's relationship with Emma is this to her parents, playing the latter off as a philosophy tutor.
  • Seme: A lesbian version. Emma is the dominant partner in the relationship and it's apparent that she owns the house they live in. She is also the top in their sexual encounters.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Besides Marivaux's La Vie de Marianne, other literary works are mentioned: Dangerous Liaisons, Jean-Paul Sartre's Dirty Hands and Existentialism Is a Humanism.
    • When Adèle goes to the movie with Thomas, they are watching Gaspar Noe's Enter the Void; Oscar's question to Linda, "Remember that pact we made?", is audible.
    • The film in Emma's party that serves as a backdrop is Pandora's Box by G. W. Pabst starring Louise Brooks. The latter's facial expressions in that scene mirrors Adèle's own insecurities regarding Emma's growing closeness with Lise. Pandora's Box is often cited as being the first film with a lesbian character, Countess Geschwitz.
  • Simple-Minded Wisdom: Adèle innocently asks Emma why they call it Fine Arts, meaning are there ugly ones. Emma answers no, but briefly considers her question and concedes that indeed some can be ugly but it could be subjective.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: With her failed outside relationships, Emma is all Adèle wants. Too bad the feeling isn't mutual. At least she starts to get over it at the film's conclusion.
    Adèle: I miss you. I miss not touching each other. Not seeing each other, not breathing in each other. I want you. All the time. No-one else.
  • Slice of Life: This film is a slice-of-life lesbian coming-of-age story.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Adèle has a simple, wholesome family life, contrasted with Emma's luxurious, high-class home life. This comes back in the second chapter, where Emma's sophisticated friends are invited over and brush off the more pedestrian Adèle even while gushing over her "simple" bolognese.
  • Slut-Shaming: Emma calls Adèle "a slut" over and over after learning of her betrayal. With another man no less.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Adèle's counterpart in the source material becomes addicted to pills and ends up dying of a hidden heart condition, but she survives the film without either occurring.
  • Stealth Insult: Emma gives a back-handed compliment to Adèle's father, saying that his bolognese is "simple" but sumptuous.
  • Stepford Smiler: The heartbroken and overwhelmed Adèle does her best to smile and look composed for her students during the folk dance, before breaking down in tears as soon as they leave.
  • Suspiciously Apropos Music:
    • The second song at the bar scene "Live for Today" foreshadows Adèle's fate later in the movie.
    • Lykke Li's "I Follow Rivers" is the perfect song that encapsulates on how Adèle feels about Emma while she's dancing alone at her birthday party. She misses her terribly and is melancholic that the most important person in her life can't share this moment with her.
    • The Spanish music in the bar is "Mi Corazoncito" by Aventura where Adèle dances and kisses a male colleague. Following her insecurities that Emma is becoming more distant from her, the song perfectly captures Adèle's insecurity about the state of their relationship while being unable to deny how much Emma is very much her world. It also echoes Adèle's insecurities on her own perceived disparity in their social, professional, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Talking in Bed: In the first chapter, Emma and Adèle share sweet moments talking together after sex and falling in love. This is contrasted with the same act in the second chapter, where their flame is beginning to die out and Emma instead focuses on pushing Adèle to be more than "just a teacher."
  • There Are No Coincidences: Emma doesn't believe that Adèle wandered into a lesbian bar by chance.
  • Time Skip: There is a distinct time gap of around two years between the film's first and second part, noticeable by Emma's Expository Hairstyle Change.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Emma is the first. She's too feminine to be described as butch and too masculine to be considered as a Lipstick Lesbian. Soft butch would be more accurate. On the other hand, Adèle acts and dresses in more traditionally feminine ways.
  • Uke: Adèle is the Uke and plays the role of the housewife and the submissive partner in the relationship, and also the more emotionally mature one.
  • Unkempt Beauty: Adèle, whose hair often gets in her eyes and is otherwise pretty messy.
  • Woman Scorned: Emma doesn't hold back in her anger when she realizes that Adèle is cheating on her, striking her and forcing her out of the house.

Alternative Title(s): Blue Is The Warmest Colour