Wow. I had read all about both the critical acclaim and the extended explicit depiction of lesbian sex in this film but I was totally unprepared for the way the narrative moved me and for the realism of the sex scenes. Well, maybe realism isn’t the right word, as there seemed to be a consistent criticism from the lesbian community that the sex portrayed in the movie was unrealistic. In fact, I’m bothered by my own choice of words here because it’s not that the sex seems authentic, it’s that it’s pornographic in the sense that you seem to be watching two people actually having sex. But even that sentence doesn’t quite get at the issue because I’m writing as though what you see in this film is acted sex, simulated sex, but I don’t believe that to be the case. The two lead actresses, Adele Exarchopoulos and Lea Seydoux have claimed in interviews that they wore prosthetics for these scenes but I defy you to watch them and believe that. I think they’ve gone on with the claim of the prosthetics out of some desire to protect their artistic integrity or to maintain the fiction that the film that doesn’t contain fifteen or so minutes of them engaging in real sex, but fiction is what I believe that claim to be. Anyway, I hate that I’ve even spent so long on this aspect of the film. It’s just that these sex scenes kind of exploded into the narrative and then their length and graphic nature shocked me. Despite the fact that I believe these two people were naked in every sense of the word, I do believe that the emotion, the experience, that you see in the sex is acted and that is a real credit to these performers because the passion and the sensuality on screen are transcendent.
For all the attention I’ve given to the sex in Blue, though, that’s not what I took away from the film. What’s sticking with me this morning as I write this is the amazing performances of the two leads and the way Blue gets at the almost unbearable truths of first love and of heartbreak. I had to go online after I watched and find out whether this was actually a movie or what I had seen was the documentation of the real lives of two people. These supremely talented actresses and their director had me dead convinced throughout that what I was seeing was two people really falling in love, coming furiously apart, and then living in the wake of something beautiful that got fucked up. And it’s coming real damn close to breaking my heart just to write this because this really happens to people: they love each other but can’t be together because of things that were done by one or both of them and life goes on, but it’s never quite the same for either of them and they have to walk on anyway, they have to try and be in a different kind of love with other people, but this marching onward in life takes place in the shadow of their one true love, in a perpetual state of subdued mourning. It’s the human condition, and it’s a real tragedy, but what can you do?
To see all of this so perfectly communicated in a piece of art of breathtaking. Like I said in the beginning – wow.