The film centers on a contemporary married couple, charting their evolution over a span of years by cross-cutting between time periods.
Blue Valentine is a movie that has a lot of interesting tid-bits that I learned about before seeing it, or having an interest in seeing it, that helped to generate my curiosity. First off, it was almost rated ‘NC-17’ for its nudity and sex scenes, but was eventually changed to an ‘R’ rating. There is also a lot of interesting things about writer/director Derek Cianfrance‘s writing and creating this movie, like the male lead’s appearance being based on himself, and certain methods of improve added into the acting. But I think the most interesting part lies with Michelle Williams. While the movie was being made, the tragedy that was Heath Ledger‘s death occurred, the two being in a relationship and having a daughter. Out of respect for her, Cianfrance halted production for several months. This became her comeback movie, and she received an Acadamy Award nomination for leading actress. An event like that must lead to a powerful performance, so why not check it out?
The film is pretty well summed up, presentation wise, by the summary above. Different parts of Dean [Ryan Gosling] and Cindy [Williams]’s lives and relationship. Like most all relationships, there are highs and there are lows, and we witness both. Through these ups and downs we are treated to the same thing, and that is the on-screen chemistry. The performances by both Gosling and Williams are really quite superb. Williams clearly had a lot to draw from on an emotional level, and Gosling must just be damn good. IMDb says that these two spent a month living and “aging’ together, doing things together and “learning how to argue”. I’ll easily say that such an experience paid off.
The story itself isn’t really anything new, but it is well thought-out and paced, with enough time to have the scenes set in and have some depth before switching between the time line. We are shown things that contribute to the relationship, and nothing that is really too trivial or ambiguous. That being the case, however, there really isn’t too much that will surprise you, especially if you know the nature of relationships.
In the end, you are left feeling for the characters and almost wish you could see what is to come next, which is a bittersweet kind of thing to be left with, but I love it.
The technical aspects of the film didn’t really jump out at me, which is not necessarily a bad thing for a romance/drama. I’m a soundtrack guy, though, and this one didn’t catch my ears as other movies have. Nothing bad, though, just not great.
3.0/4.0 – With extremely strong lead performances from Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine is a story about an all too common style of relationships and their highs and lows that most any of us can relate to, especially when the actors make you feel for their characters.