- Reviews Written:
Posted on 5/16/11 05:54 PM
Hollywood has been recently criticized by many film-goers as producing an overabundance of the most depressing efforts they can put forth: 'Precious', 'Rabbit Hole', and 'Black Swan', among others. The film that might lead the discussion regarding this movement going forward is 'Blue Valentine'.
'Blue Valentine' is a moving portrait of a love disintegrated. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling play Cindy and Dean, respectively, two young lovers in New York City whose paths cross in their early adulthood. The seemingly mismatched from the start, which is one of the reasons this story works so well. Their story is told in nonlinear and often gritty fashion, seamlessly moving back and forth between present day and past events. The flashback sequences recall their courtship, while the scenes documenting their current lives focus on their struggle to remain together for their daughter's sake.
I consider myself a fan of Michelle Williams, and my opinion might be biased, but I thought she was very good. That said, I found Gosling's performance to be the most convincing. His portrayal of aimless Dean was really good, and carried the film in parts where I thought it might have otherwise dragged. The dialogue exchange was definitely a strength of the film. mostly for its sincerity. I also really appreciated some of the subtle symbolism scattered throughout the film.
The movie is presented in a raw, traditional indie style (i.e., quick camera cuts, insertion of sometimes-mundane details, lack of a score, etc.). As a film, it works on a very powerful level because of its somber presentation alone. Often, the viewer will feel invasive, as if they're watching and listening to conversations not meant for them. As a story, it's very top heavy, and is certainly not a date film. I'd go as far as to say that if one is in a fractured relationship, this is not a film I can recommend in good conscious. 'Blue Valentine' is an enjoyable film, and a well made one at that, but it is definitely not going to make the "feel good movie of the year" list. If you don't like indie films and the style in which they tend to be made, then you may not like this movie. But if you appreciate the indie style, and can take the weighted story, then this is a film worth screening.