Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine unfortunately has not received the publicity it so rightly deserves. Out of the limelight of mainstream audiences, successfully ignoring this movie, being blissfully unaware of its existence, would be a relatively easy feat. Yet for all the acclaim critics have served up, audiences still remain ignorant of this beautiful film’s presence. One of the more truthful movies of its kind released in recent years, Blue Valentine provides a shockingly realistic depiction of love and marriage; their complexity and how not everyone stays together forever.
After watching the trailer, you’re probably under the impression you’ve pegged this movie down. Don’t fool yourself; Blue Valentine‘s story is immensely refreshing. Too often are we bombarded by films about happy couples, who despite their problems, find their way back into each other’s arms by the time the credits have rolled. This suggests a problem; our mindset about romance and marriage start getting affected, especially in regards to how the themes are dished out on screen.
Centered on a married couple, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, have two roles. We see them in the past and in the present. Once when they were happy, relishing in the idea of each other’s company, looking forward to a life together, and now when their lives have been reduced to shambles, living in a hollowed out marriage. The dynamic between both the two actors and the characters themselves is astounding. Given impressive dialogue to work with, which in part may be a result of having three people work on the script, Gosling and Williams bring life to their roles with a profound intensity; you’re left convinced a true story has unfolded in front of your eyes.
Blue Valentine works on any number of levels; sensationally striking, the examination of the failure of the domesticity between a husband and wife strikes a deep chord. Ryan Gosling, who after years of appearing in movies like The Notebook and Fracture, not to earnestly knock those two films if you happen to enjoy them, finally has a chance to sink his teeth into a piece of quality cinema. Bringing his A game to the table, Gosling demonstrates the ability we all knew he had but never properly displayed. A tired and unhappy man facing a broken marriage, the role suits him perfectly. Michelle Williams, having been in multiple independent films, fails to slouch in any way. Rather, the young woman deserves impressive recognition for her ability to play two women. One is a college student looking forward to a life she can look back on, the other being a mother and a wife; trapped in a marriage with a man she no longer has the energy to love.
Poignant and overwhelmingly heartfelt, the emotional ride Blue Valentine takes you on is worth the price of admission. What other romance/dramatic movies lack, this one makes up for, throwing away the campiness and frivolity that have come to insult our intelligence as viewers towards the genre; though placing the film in this particular genre almost comes off as an insult to it. I would be hard-pressed to decide whether or not Blue Valentine is a film anyone can appreciate. When you view the movie, put aside all preconceived notions about finding true love and what it means, and instead brace yourself for an accurate presentation of life, love, and marriage.