Blue Valentine (2010)

Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine (2010)

Blue Valentine tells a simple story of a marriage: how Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) meet, experience that thrill of infatuation … and how, years later, that thrill stagnates and calcifies as their relationship is on the precipice of collapse. It’s a drama, but it avoids easy dramatic clichés like tragic accidents, disease or misunderstandings.

The fim’s loose, messy cinematography suits the story’s shagginess, and helps to convince you that Williams and Gosling are just lower-middle class folks. Director Derek Cianfrance respects the audience’s intelligence when constructing the film, cross-cutting confidently between the present and past without obvious signifiers. The dialogue, unfortunately, doesn’t always demonstrate the same respect; numerous scenes are marred by characters blatantly stating the purpose/theme of the scene (eg when a doctor at her work awkwardly comes on to her, Williams quietly comments, “I thought you wanted me there because I’m good at my job…” Yeah, we get it).

Fundamentally, Blue Valentine is an actor’s movie; Gosling and especially Williams do an excellent job at living their characters – whether it’s their giddy delight of first love or the frustrated weariness of an expired partnership – and their performances are the best reason to see the film.

Rating: 137/200

5 thoughts on “Blue Valentine (2010)

  1. The scene at the end when Gosling goes to the doctor’s office is top-notch acting and directing! It felt so honest, raw, and authentic. I loved this movie, the tension and uncertainty and unpredictability. I like movies that I’m not sure where the story is headed. You should check out this turkish romance drama “Head-On”. I thought it was amazing! 🙂

    • Thanks for the comment – I totally agree on Gosling’s acting in that scene; I think it’s telling that the effectiveness of that scene would be lost if you watched it out of context. Like, it would still be clearly good acting, but it’s a culmination of his character arc that shows how all his impulsivity and childishness has a darker, uglier side. I haven’t heard of “Head-On” – I’ll check it out!

  2. Pingback: Double Feature: Drive (2011) and The Place Beyond the Pines (2013) | ccpopculture

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