Blue Valentine – Review


It’s boy meets girl, but in the most accurate heartbreaking screen portrayal and there is no real sense of resolution just a bitter aftertaste…

One of the film festival favourites of the year ‘Blue Valentine’ features extraordinary performances from it’s leads Michelle Williams (Cindy) and Ryan Gosling (Dean) as a modern married couple who face obstacles and the unravelling of an initially promising relationship. It’s a lot more heavy duty than it first appears considering its downbeat subject. Exploring the effects of time and small minor events on the outcome of each other perceptions of what was once true love. It’s boy meets girl, but in the most accurate heartbreaking realistic screen portrayal and there is no real sense of resolution just a bitter aftertaste. Shifting between a present 24hours between the couple and glimpses of moments of their past, the happier times as well as instances which contribute to the fall of the relationship.

At times its extremely raw to watch, it feels intrusive but also incredibly moving and relatable. Conveying how quickly and dizzy it is to fall in love but how long and painful it is to either let a relationship die or to destroy it. Williams and Gosling play two versions of the same character to further enhance impact of time on not only their appearance but their outlook on life and love’s place within that. Williams when we first met her as Cindy she is highly irritable and impatient, flashbacks to earlier in their relationship and she is sweet, slightly shy and unassuming. Gosling as present Dean is jaded, an alcoholic and unambitious, despite once being charming, cheeky and optimistic. Both actors are the best they have been in their career and display their talent immensely well.

Derek Cianfrance’s decision to wait and halt production out of respect for Williams after the death of Heath Ledger was a sincere act of loyalty but also a wise one as she and Gosling have irreplaceable chemistry. The close up shots and angle of the camera, create and intense intimate on screen picture of the connection of the couple. The soundtrack is amazing featuring Grizzly Bear, fitting perfectly with the low key but sombre and melancholy mood. This being his latest film since showcasing ‘Brother Tied’ at Sundance in 1998, Cianfrance proves his is still to be recognized for his vision as a writer and director and is not afraid of covering subject matter on his own terms. Many were unhappy with the films conclusion but I felt it fit perfectly.

Von Von Lamunu

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