Film: Blue Valentine
Cast includes: Ryan Gosling (Lars and the Real Girl), Michelle Williams (Shutter Island)
Writing/Direction: Derek Cianfrance (Black and White: A Portrait of Sean Combs)
Genre: Drama/Romance (2010)
In brief: Dean believes men are more romantic than women. “Guys want to get married because they think ‘I’d be an idiot if I didn’t marry this girl.’ Women are looking for their best option.” When we first meet Dean and Cindy the romance has definitely gone out of their marriage, but they love their four-year-old daughter “like crazy.” Cindy has a busy work schedule because she’s a nurse. Dean’s working as a house painter… it keeps food on the table and liquor in the cupboard. Dean thinks a weekend for two at the local love motel will help them rekindle the romance.
In flashbacks, Cindy asks her grandmother, “What did it feel like when you fell in love?” Cindy doesn’t ever want to be like her parents, stuck in a loveless marriage. “How do you trust your feelings when they can just disappear like that?” Dean does trust his feelings because he falls in love with Cindy at first sight. But it takes a serious effort to convince Cindy to even go out with him. Dean knows that Cindy is the one. And even when their relationship is strained, Dean still believes Cindy is the one.
Blue Valentine is an extremely intimate and powerful narrative about a romance on the edge. The plot doesn’t really have surprising twists or turns. Instead, everything about the story is heartfelt and insightful. The filmmaking style feels a lot like a documentary, possibly because director Derek Cianfrance has a background in documentary filmmaking. Because of the very realistic sex scenes, it took an appeal to the film rating board to change the original NC-17 rating to an R rating. But it’s not just the sex that feels real… the dialog and the story development feel painfully real as well… especially if you’ve ever been in a relationship that’s gone south. One of Dean’s favorite songs is You Always Hurt the One You Love. Sometimes there’s a thin line between love and hate, and sadly, you can hurt the ones you love.
4 popped kernels
Like watching a train wreck, it’s hard to look away.
Rated: R (sexual content)
Primary Audience: Grown-ups
Gender Appeal: Any audience
Distribution: Art house
Tempo: In no hurry
Visual Style: Unvarnished realism
Character Development: Intense
Language: True to life
Social Significance: Thought provoking