Blue Valentine Reviews
"A Love Story"
Blue Valentine is pessimistic filmmaking, but great pessimistic filmmaking. It's what you'd almost label as an anti-love story and I would feel comfortable calling it a cautionary film as well. This isn't a romance film in the form we are used to seeing. It's not all happy endings and sunshine. This is a romance film for the divorce generation. The utter lack of optimism throughout the movie will definitely be a turnoff to some, but if you can appreciate a movie for being something different, then Blue Valentine is worth a look.
Blue Valentine follows a marriage between Dean and Cindy. It cuts between the present and the past. We see Dean and Cindy's marriage slowly unraveling as we see them fall in love too. I think the movie is brilliantly put together. Everything works in the order we're given, even though it isn't the order of the events. It works in a style that is close to, but not exactly along the lines of 500 Days of Summer.
The movie hooked me right off the bat and the reason is because of the two leads. Ryan Gosling and Michele Williams are two of the best in the business right now and together, they are more than amazing. Gosling has a way of just bringing power to his performances that few actors are able to do nowadays. Williams also has an extreme power to her performance. The chemistry between the two is off the charts. They have to play two people falling in love and falling out of love and they do it with such ease and precision.
This isn't a film for everyone. The independent and gritty feel of the film may be off-putting or maybe even unnerving to some. However, if you are like me and love independent films that are honest, even if the honesty isn't what we want to hear; then this is a film for you.
I thought all of the performances were great, but I didnt really like the characters. I liked Dean as a young boy, but not when he was older. I didnt like the wife at all. She seemed like a slutty mcbitcherson. 25 sexual partners? And then shes with Dean and Bobby at the same time and gets pregnant? What a dirty hoe. It seemed like throughout the movie Dean loved her, but she didnt love him. Actually now that I think about it she is probably the reason Dean drinks so much. Spending the rest of your life with that bitch? Godspeed....
-typed from my ipad, apologize for any errors-
Without revealing anything out of the ordinary, I'll mention that the film starts out with a scene in present day involving the loss of the family dog (where you witness how easily Gosling interacts with his daughter, and how tension lies just beneath the surface between he and Williams). From there the story moves slowly forward, while backtracking to fill in the blanks concerning who these two are, and what they were. I was amazed how Gosling in particular pulled off the difference in age, with glasses and receding hairline.
There are some background scenes that I found superfluous - especially those concerning William's old high school boyfriend, and I found the big deal scene at the motel, while raw, ultimately falling short of "Leaving Lost Vegas" greatness. On a side note, I've never understood the compulsion of wanting to "get wild", meaning go to a hotel, get drunk, and then have sex. I get the hotel and sex thing, but, if you're trying to reconnect with your mate, why do you have to get drunk to do it? To me that would just get in the way of any true emotion and connection... but what do I know?
In the end, you have a familiar tale concerning falling out of love. The film tries to examine how this can happen, and while not a revelation, does an adequate job of showing how, after time, things become rote to the point where you don't really hear what the other person is saying, and subsequently are put off by bullet point words, instead of trying to understand or appreciate the emotional content of what's behind the words. As Williams says towards the film's end, "blah, blah, blah", indicating that she "thinks" she's heard it all before. Odd that I found her character the "cold" one, while Gosling came across as much more straightforward, if perhaps needy. As he observes to a friend early in the film, "men are the ones more into true love than a woman. A guy thinks he'll never find "the one", and then wham, that's it, she's the one, while a woman will get to a certain point and then "settle". You know, it's like she's weighing her options... he's got a decent job and he's not bad looking." The film makes it clear that Gosling truly loves his family, though you're not quite sure about Williams - which makes that earlier proclamation an insightful one. Perhaps if I felt that Williams loved Gosling as much as he obviously loves her, the film would have had more impact for me; though I will admit that the very last scene still brought a tear to my eye; yet probably not for the reason intended by the script.
If I could I'd rate this a 75... just for the record.
This movie hits you hard, only because it is so true. Acknowledge that or don't, but it'll hurt in the end.