La vie d'Adèle

Came for the lesbian sex, stayed for the Bildungsroman.

After all the mudslinging about this, calling it smut and porn with plot, I was expecting wall-to-wall gratuitous sex scenes and casual nudity for fanservice only. What I got was a bona fide Bildungsroman, a coming-of-age story about a girl finding herself. Sure, it involves hot steamy sex at some point, but that’s life!

It’s not an activist film, same-sex relationships are treated as normal and the main conflict in the film is not about her retrograde but caring parents, or about asshole school colleagues, but the dynamics of a relationship between such different people.

It feels clichè, but this is a film about unrequited love. Aren’t they all?

This could be also be named “Close-Up: The Movie”. Nearly 3h of close-ups of Adèle’s face, crying most of the time. There’s even close-ups on marble asses. The theme doesn’t deviate from the human body even when it tends toward inanimate objects.

Adèle (the actress) totally deserves all the praise she got. Evil people might say that her character blends into her own personality, so much that they changed the name of the character to match hers and used some “behind-the-scenes” footage in the film as her character, but that’s just Method Acting when the hipsters talk about that.

Life is Strange really took much from this, mainly from that small slice where there’s just two people hanging out in a park bench with the sun on their back. If every frame is a painting, those frames are a museum.

I watched the whole thing uninterrupted, but the division in two parts is clever, since there’s a larger sense of separation between the two moments in her life. It’s probably the best way to experience the story.


This is my place for ramblings about sequences of images that exploit the human visual limitation know as persistence of vision.

Ephemera of Vision