Love is sometimes a beautiful thing.
Once crazy about each other, Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) have now grown apart. Cindy is bored and disenchanted with her life while Dean languishes in the emotional emptyness of their sexless, routine life in rural Pennsylvania. As they muddle through their marriage, they hearken back to the golden days when life was filled with possibility and romance.
I have been practically on this film’s ass ever since I first heard mouth of it last year. Now that’s it out & about, but even barely out, I drove about 30 miles to actually see this, since it was the only place that was showing it in my area. Needless to say, it was worth the mileage.
Writer/Director Derek Cianfrance really does know what love is like when it’s beautiful, and he also knows when its horrible. This film shows the brutally honest side of love, to where at first, it starts off all perfect with the love at first sight, and all the other cheesy rom-com cliches. But then, it starts to turn into something old, something annoying, and nothing changes at all. Instead it almost gets worse, and the person you once loved, you see your having a battle with everyday, over probably nothing half of the time. Cianfrance captures the happy side of love perfectly, but when it comes to showing the true, raw emotions that come out of it when it’s ugly, are also perfect. These are human emotions displayed at its finest, and not all of this film is basically a downer, there are some light moments that get you cheery, but those are then taken away by the unpleasant scenes that take over.
Right here is some pretty dark stuff too. The supposed “sex scenes” that this film got an NC-17 for back in October, really are nothing graphic. I can see why the MPAA would get all hyped up about certain sex scenes here, but in all honesty, it’s nothing different or shocking really. Just a little bit more graphic than what the usual, mainstream audience is used to seeing. I also liked how the film goes back and forth through their relationship, rather than just showing us the beginning through the end. It kind of gives us a feeling like what was once, all awesome beautiful, has turned into something boring, and ugly. I guess that’s just how love is really, and probably one of my biggest fears of all, getting so bored with a person to the point of where you have lost all love for them. I don’t know if it will ever happen to me, but if so, I guess that’s just how life is, no matter how sad it is. This film isn’t the feel-good film of the year, so be warned everybody.
My only complaint with this film has to be the aging mistake I think this film was going for. From what it looked like, these two were about 40, or older, when they show them “settled in”. But the problem is, that the kid they have is about 6 years old or younger, which is odd because why would these people look so old, when it’s only been like 10 years or so. I don’t know that was just me, and although not everybody will have an exact idea of what I’m saying, it still kind of bugged me.
The real showcase for this film is the talent that is shown by that beautiful couple up top. Ryan Gosling really is one of the biggest, brightest stars of today, that is showing just how great he really is. He is perfect in this role as Dean, who is so charming and likable, that every scene he is on he commands your attention, and you can’t help but give it to him. But it’s when that charm is turned off that really hits you, and you see a broken down, sad, sad man. Gosling delivers on the painful emotions you feel when love is going sour, and he does a perfect job with every scene he is in. I still don’t know if it’s better than his Half Nelson performance, but still, he is becoming one of my favorite actors of all-time, and I really do mean that. Michelle Williams is also not a force to be reckoned with, as she is also perfect here as Cindy, the nice, little, sweetheart that becomes the apple of Dean’s eye. The performance she gives off is a more quiet one than Gosling, which works very well, cause without even saying anything half of the time, you can feel the pain within her character, and when she snaps, she doesn’t let you forget about it.
Cianfrance best idea for this whole film really is just to let the actors tell the story, and that is probably my favorite part of this film, cause everything feels so real. You follow these two as if it is almost a documentary-like feel, and you can’t take your eyes off the screen at all, cause everything just feels so legit, no matter how disturbing, or distraught it may be. There’s no second-meanings to everything that goes on, or symbolism, it’s basically what you see is what you get. These two do feel like a real couple. Whether they fight, flirt, bone, sing, dance, or just sit there in silence it doesn’t matter cause it all feels real, especially with these two stars acting. Their chemistry is perfect, and you feel like when they are angry at each other, they really are, but when they love each other, they really do. Right here, you have a lot of improv but they do so well, creating so many powerful, and sometimes even suspenseful scenes.
Consensus: As emotionally raw as you can get, Blue Valentine portrays the dark side of love, with an impressive direction from Cianfrance, and heart-wrenching performances from Gosling, and Williams.