Welcome to Thursday Trailer Face-Off, a feature in which we cast a critical eye on two similar upcoming film releases, pitting themagainst each other across a variety of categories to determine which is most deserving of your two hours. This week: Blue is the Warmest Color vs. Concussion, two films about tumultuous female-only relationships.
PremiseIndie lesbian dramas were all the rage at the festivals this past year, and not simply because of their explicit girl-on-girl sex scenes (though there were some of those, too). Blue is the Warmest Color, which took home the Palme d’Or at Cannes, is a coming-of-age lesbian romance—a genre that’s moments away from becoming its own Netflix category. Adèle (Adèle Exarchopoulus) feels as though something is missing in her heterosexual relationship, particularly after she happens upon blue-haired art student Emma (Léa Seydoux). After a chance reconnection at a lesbian bar, romance and lovemaking ensues. According to the Internet (note, none of this information is readily available in the trailer, which reads more like a non-narrative indie music video), the film then flashes forward to find the couple living together as their relationship struggles to survive amidst the horrors of “real life.” Concussion, which was nominated for the Grand Jury prize at Sundance, is a slightly less predictable lesbian love story. Abby (Robin Weigert) is struck by a rogue baseball, causing her to become disillusioned with her boring domestic existence. Seeking excitement, Abby becomes a prostitute, eventually falling for the beautiful Sam (Maggie Siff). Though willing prostitution definitely has its onscreen merits, it seems a little far-fetched. We prefer the premise of Blue is the Warmest Color, which is universally relatable regardless of sexual orientation.Advantage: Blue is the Warmest Color
Sex ScenesSeeing as Concussion follows the double life of a housewife-slash-prostitute, there are sure to be a range of sexual encounters. Several of which can even be found right in the film’s trailer, partial nudity and all. But you know what they say about sex scenes: it isn’t quantity that counts, but quality. Word on the Internet is that Blue is the Warmest Color boasts a 10-minute sex romp between its stunning French costars. Besides, onscreen sex is always more enjoyable when it hasn’t been paid for.Advantage: Blue is the Warmest Color
RealismBoth of these films rely on coincidences to further their plotlines. In Blue is the Warmest Color, Adèle happens to run into the blue-haired beauty that caught her eye on the street at a local lesbian bar. In Concussion, one of Abby’s customers, Sam, happens to be the mother she had a crush on from her social circle. Abby happens to run in to Sam and her husband at the grocery store. Abby’s contractor happens to be dating someone who runs a call girl service. We happen to think that none of this seems very plausibleAdvantage: Blue is the Warmest Color
Indie CredibilityThese films reek of indie cred. As previously mentioned, both were well received at their respective film festivals and wacky plotlines featuring prostitution, demon baseballs, and infidelity are so indie. Blue is the Warmest Color, however, features Beach House in its trailer. Enough said.Advantage: Blue is the Warmest Color
Leading LadiesConcussion stars small-screen favorites. Robin Weigert is beloved for her role on Deadwood and, according to most critics, her performance is the highlight of the film. Maggie Siff won us over playing a complex love interest in both Mad Men and Sons of Anarchy. The buzz surrounding Weigert’s performance, however, has got nothing on Blue is the Warmest Color‘s French costars. Léa Seydoux is the it-girl du jour—she just got her very own Rag & Bone ad. And though Seydoux has already arrived, Adèle Exarchopoulus is being lauded as “the next big thing,” which is always better than the current “big thing.” And also, they were the first actors to officially share the Palme d’Or with a film’s director.Advantage: Blue is the Warmest Color
The VerdictNo contest here, the lesbian drama that cannot be missed is Cannes winner Blue is the Warmest Color. Come for the 10-minute sex scene, stay for the touching, believable romance.Winner: Blue is the Warmest Color
Trailer Face-Off runs every Thursday. For more, click here.