Blue (Trois Couleurs: Bleu)
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Rated R
100 minutes
French with English subtitles

I loved Juliette Binoche in Chocolat. It’s a movie that makes me feel all warm and melty every time I watch it—and Binoche did an excellent job playing the fiery, chocolate-bearing heroine. That could explain why I didn’t hesitate to pick up a copy of Blue after I saw her face on the DVD case—even though it’s a foreign film, complete with subtitles. While I was watching it, I actually found it to be somewhat similar to Chocolat, though Blue was much more obscure and a lot less inspiring.

In both films, Binoche plays a woman on the run. In Chocolat, she’s Vianne, a single mother who moves from town to town whenever the wind blows. In Blue, she’s Julie, a woman who totally abandons her old life when her husband, a famous composer, and their daughter are killed in a car accident. Like Vianne, whose nomadic lifestyle keeps her from becoming too attached to anyone (except for her traveling companion—her young daughter), Julie leaves everything behind (including her huge, beautiful home and her aging mother, who’s confined in a nursing home) in an attempt to free herself of the pain of love and loss.

Though she tries to withdraw, Julie soon learns that she’ll never be able to escape. No matter how much she tries to close the door to her new apartment and shut out the rest of the world, she finds herself involved in the lives of new acquaintances—and haunted by the symphony that her husband left unfinished.

Blue is the first film in a trilogy about France—based on the country’s national motto: Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. It’s an artistic film, carefully painted in dark colors, but it’s often difficult to follow—not because of the subtitles but just because of the story’s obscurity. It’s not a “Wow!” kind of movie. It’s more of a “Hmmm…” kind of movie.

Despite the similarities between the two movies, Blue is darker and much more bleak than Chocolat. And while Julie may find her closure at the end of the film, I didn’t. It left a few too many unanswered questions—and the answers that it did provide just didn’t seem to make sense. Chocolat’s Vianne was a character with whom I could relate—Julie wasn’t. And that could explain why Chocolat is a movie that I can watch repeatedly—but Blue isn’t.

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