La Vie D'Adele (aka Blue Is The Warmest Color) (2013)
A young high school student (Adele Exarchopoulos) meets an older woman (Lea Seydoux) and thus begins an intense romantic relationship that will last several years. The winner of this years Palme D'Or at the Cannes film festival as well as best director (Abdellatif Kechiche) and best actress for both its leading ladies, if not the masterpiece it's been hyped up to be, it's still a remarkable achievement. Unfortunately much of the film's notoriety (it's rated NC-17) is based on its graphic lesbian sex scenes. But anyone going in expecting an erotic chick on chick flick is going to be disappointed. The sex scenes total about ten minutes out of a three hour running time and they're not exploitative but a necessary function of the film's narrative. This is a film about love. About finding it, finding your soul mate and the messiness of romantic relationships, of loss and the slow painful rebuilding. It's anchored by an extraordinary (and I don't use that word lightly) performance by Exarchopoulos that's so raw and visceral that it seems to transcend acting. Never for a moment do you feel you're watching an actress but only the character, an achievement rarely accomplished by even the greatest actresses like Streep, Hepburn and Davis. It's three hour running time may seem excessive for such an intimate story and Kechiche's languid pacing occasionally feels self indulgent but in the end, it's justified.