Posted on 2/05/11 07:00 PM
God I cried like a baby on more that one occasion during this little film. The acting is frequently brilliant, the direction is often odd and sincere, the sex is explicit, and the humor is surprisingly effective and prevalent.
My only qualm with this gem is the uneven portrayal of our two main protagonii- on one hand we have the simple, silly, sweet and absolutely endearing Dean (played by Gosling), who works a menial day job, perhaps drinks too much, and cries when his daughter's dog dies. On the other hand we have Cindy, a pretty young nurse who gets pregnant young and out of wedlock, looses her dreams of being a doctor, and finds love and commitment in a young blue collar charmer.
As the film progresses, Dean has few scenes where he isn't being nice or sensitive or fun, but Cindy is moody, and curt, spurning her husbands advances and slowly falling out of love with him. But why? Despite his trivial faults, the man the audience is presented is nothing if not adoring and sympathetic. He marries his girlfriend of a few months, raises a child that is not his own after getting beaten up by the kid's real dead-beat father, and holds a steady job to keep his family stable and happy.
Whatever faults we are supposed to see aren't enough for us to feel any understanding for the film's final conclusion, and indeed, Cindy herself. Our sympathies leave her as we are forced to watch her push a loving and caring husband out of her and her daughter's lives. She starts to come across like a real bitch without any substantiated motives.
In thinking she deserved something better, Cindy throws away the best man she could ever have. This bittersweet love story becomes a depressing tale of one decent man's rejection from the family he supported and loved unconditionally.
And the truth is, if the audience didn't care so much for Gosling's character, the movie wouldn't work. As the tragic hero, he supports it deftly, and I firmly believe that he deserves recognition for his work in Blue Valentine.