A simple advice: please don’t go to see this movie on a first date or if your couple is going through a crisis (it’s a question of survival), but in all other cases, I strongly recommend you the vision of this picture, one of the best I have recently seen.
Blue Valentine is the pitiless dissection of a couple’s history, the one formed by Dean and Cindy. Young, married and having a lovely child called Frankie, they live in a small and ordinary American town. They’re both working class people, but Cindy studied to become a nurse and has a decent job, while Dean left high school and always had temporary jobs, and now survives painting houses. The movie doesn’t follow the events chronologically, so we see them in their present life and then, piece by piece, we get to know how they met, how they fell in love and how they fell out of love (François Ozon made a similar thing in his movie 5x2, but in that case he followed the love affair from the end to the beginning, while here the present and the past are mixing in an emotional roller coaster). Things inside the couple are not getting well, and this is pretty clear. Cindy looks fed up with Dean’s attitude towards life: he is drinking a lot and he doesn’t have any ambition in his professional life. Their attempts to revive their connection, both physical and spiritual, are failing miserably and the end of the affair is just around the corner.
Blue Valentine is a great and pitiless movie: it really kills you. You are torn apart by watching this couple slowly dying, especially when you witness the way they felt at the beginning. Their love looked grandiose and strong, and let you believe for a moment that they can both leave behind bleak families and bleak events and have a new, fresh start. Unfortunately, this movie looks pretty much like real life, and so the happy ending is quite difficult.
Derek Cianfrance, the filmmaker, has done a magnificent job: the description of the love affair is romantic without being cheesy, while the end of it is filmed in an extremely real but compassionate way.
This picture is so powerful, though, especially because of the unbelievably good performance of the two actors: Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling. These two actors have a similar story: they both started to work for children and teenagers TV programs (Gosling for Disney Channel together with Britney Spears!, Williams for the series Dawson's Creek), then they switch to mainstream movies and now they are becoming icons of independent cinema (Williams notably for her role in Wendy and Lucie, Gosling for the one of a drug addict professor in Half Nelson). In this movie, they prove to be splendid actors. They look so natural, true, passionate, distraught, human: the audience is obliged to feel what they feel, to empathize with them. It is a painful but worth it process (I read that the two actors spent a month living together before the shooting to really get into the characters).
Blue Valentine is a movie that gets under the skin and leaves you with an unsettling feeling about the hopelessness of human soul.
Welcome to the club!
Welcome to the club!