15-year-old Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulos) is quite the tomboy and is a conflicted teenager – we see her gradual understanding of self while discovering her own sexual identity.
Director Abdellatif Kechiche frames the film in an intensely claustrophobic and voyeuristic fashion, with the characters every reaction captured in intimate detail. Adele’s relationship with Emma (Léa Seydoux), a rather striking blue-haired more experienced lesbian is the central thrust of the narrative here. This relationship introduces a power dynamic, with the older girl teaching the younger one about culture outside of school
The intensity of their desire is quite refreshing yet also mildly alarming – something the actresses have commented on in subsequent interviews; not alarming due to sexuality or any perceived claims of pornography but the introduction of expressions and disappointments portrayed as the relationship ebbs and flows.
The performances are spellbinding and film certainly captures the mystique of feminine pleasure with the director demonstrating an astute self-awareness of sexuality.