Blue Is the Warmest Color: The Two Sides of Love
Adele is a teenager looking to find her place in the world. In the middle of her youthful effervescence, she meets Emma and falls into a fascination up until now unknown to her. This way she discovers her first love. With it come her first kisses, passion, her first caresses. Commitment, coexistence. But, over time, the first fights also come into play. The boredom of routine and the first complications. Until you arrive upon the irremediable outcome: the first loss of love.
The film speaks to us in equal parts about the two sides of love. In a very real way, as real as Adele’s way of eating spaghetti. Besides being a film about sexual diversity awareness, it is a song dedicated to romance in every one of its presentations. Universal love, capable of the best and worst things in life.
To love as the engine of life, as energy, and an endless source of emotions and actions. You can feel the love as you watch the movie. You can feel it in your stomach and almost smell it. The emotions jump out of the screen and burst into our retina, making us feel and remember our first love. Reliving, for good or for evil, those dormant and maybe even forgotten emotions.
The main characters
Both actresses are majestic and believable at all times. Their hair, the way they look at each other, their gestures. Both characters are played so well that at times you feel as if you are spying on their real lives. Like someone who looks at life through a peephole.
On one hand, there’s the young Adele, with her ponytail always improvised and messy. She is inexperienced in life. She is emotional, passionate, tough, sensual, insecure and strong all in equal measure. On the other hand we have Emma, with her short blue hair that seems to speak of creativity, originality, an intelectual and cultured life, coldness, analysis, tranquility and coherence.
These two halves will clash. They will fuse for a while, dying everything blue, until they separate once more. A separation that leaves each one of them with a consequence, a mark, a footprint.
What is love?
There is a powerful psychological theory that explains love, its origin, components and its diverse forms. It is the Triangular Theory of Love. In his book, The Triangular Theory of Love: Intimacy, Passion and Commitment, Robert Sternberg proposes that for true love to exist three basic components must coexist:
- Intimacy: the need to be close to one another, both physically and emotionally.
- Passion: acute sexual or romantic desire.
- Commitment: willingness to maintain the established bond with the other person and perform responsible actions in this regard.
The three elements appear in the movie, and we can even see them escalate. First Adele feels the need to meet with Emma again, to see her again, to get to know her better. The desire for intimacy starts to activate. After which, once the first barriers have been crossed, we see passion, the sexual desire.
This angle is strong and volatile in the relationship the girls maintain, and it plays a very important role in the decision of whether to begin a romantic relationship. We witness how commitment brings about real complications. And it will be this angle that will put the very stability of their relationship to the test.
According to the author of the story, it is more likely for a relationship that combines the three elements to last longer than one that solely combines two or has one isolated element. There are 7 possible combinations that determine 7 types of love, according to Sternberg:
- Liking: intimacy
- Romantic Love: intimacy + passion
- Infatuation: passion
- Fatuous Love: passion + commitment
- Empty Love: commitment
- Companionate Love: intimacy + commitment
- Consummate Love: intimacy + passion + commitment
The first love
Following this same logic, we can say that one’s first love is the first time in the history of someone’s life that one feels any of the types listed above. It is common that, as in Adele’s case, this happens during adolescence. That’s why when we speak of first loves, we tend to think about that specific period in time. Although it’s true that it doesn’t always happen during this vital stage: there are some people that experience love at a very young age and others much later.
From a psychological point of view, it seems that one’s first love will be determined by the type of bond one has established during one’s earliest childhood with our first figure of attachment (usually one’s mother).
In turn, our first love will be a determining factor for the future relationships we will have. It never ceases to be an endless source of new experiences that we will learn much from. Both, what we want and what we don’t want.
The first heartbreak
In the end, we see a broken Adele full of pain and desolation, because she has suffered through the loss of her first great love. They have a beautiful and devastating meeting, some time after the breakup, where Emma assures her that she doesn’t love her anymore, but that she does feel an infinite tenderness for her.
If we go back to Sternberg’s triangle, we can identify this tenderness as the desire for intimacy in the absence of passion and commitment. However, despite Emma’s words, we see that the passion is there, and it remains on both of their behalves. This happens in many relationships that breakup. Passion or sexual desire towards the other person still remain.
When we speak of the first heartbreak, we are referring to the first great loss of love. One that you suffer over, you get depressed, learn from and grow. In regards to psychological processes, this first loss could also be defined as a process of grief. Therefore, there are a series of steps one needs to go through before accepting this loss.
Curiosities and closure
The movie is an adaptation of “Blue is the Warmest Color”, a graphic novel by Julie Maroh, elaborated in the chromatic range of blues. That’s why in the movie itself, everything seems impregnated by blue, from Emma’s hair to Adele’s clothes. This treatment of the color slightly resembles the marvelous trilogy Three Colors. Specifically Blue with Juliette Binoche, where the color blue doesn’t signify love, but freedom.
It seems that in the original title in French, it also included “Chapter 1 and 2”. This left the door open to more chapters about the life of this youngster. Chapters that we anxiously look forward to. Not only to see what happens in Adele’s life, but also to see the artistic evolution of Adele Exarchopoulos, the marvelous actress who plays her.