First Hit: A deep dive into a woman discovering herself through her sexuality.
The opening classroom scene has the instructor talking about a book and its author who’s written about the moment people see each other, having no verbal communication, and the sense or feeling between the two people.
Adele (Adele Exarchopoulos) doesn’t like over explanation of books she’s reading. While walking to meet a boy she's been pressured into meeting, she sees Emma (Lea Seydoux) for the first time and the previous classroom discussion is not lost on her or the audience. The interchange with him, after a couple of meetings, leaves her very dissatisfied physically and emotionally.
One day she is kissed by one of her girl school friends and she experiences feelings she’s not had before. The questions are in constant battle within her and Adele shows all these feelings subtly and obviously with her facial expressions, body movements and tears. She finally meets up with Emma and begins to explore her emotions, feelings and sexuality.
The sexuality is both graphically and beautifully shared on the screen and it must have been difficult to share that much intimacy with a stranger on film. Outside of the sexuality, the film is a study on the evolution of a young woman towards her self-discovery. The parts that didn’t work for me was the passage of time, I don’t think it was done well because I had to figure out how much time had gone by with each major scene change. Sometimes it was weeks, other times it was months and then years.
There were a couple of scenes where I wondered what happened to Adele’s parents, did they now know she was a lesbian?
Exarchopoulos was amazingly transparent and open in this role. Having a camera so close to her throughout this film must have been difficult. She was extraordinary. Seydoux was a great in her role as foil and lover. She was sure and strong in expressing what she wanted while providing glimpse of soft vulnerability. Abdellatif Kechiche and Ghalia Lacroix wrote a great screenplay and Kechiche directed the actors, scenes and situations with sublime exquisiteness.
Overall: Although long, this film was an amazing study of discovery.