Blue Valentine

Rated R 114 min. 2010

Initially, it’s unclear what is at the heart of Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean’s (Ryan Gosling) troubles. They are not financially well off, but they have a daughter they adore. But indications that something is gravely wrong begin when Dean coerces Cindy into a romantic getaway at a cheesy Poconos love nest. Cindy runs into an old college flame at the liquor store on the way, which shakes the couple to the core, and every time Dean touches Cindy she pushes him away. Director and co-writer Derek Cianfrance’s superbly executed film begins to color and complicate this troubled present-day relationship with flashbacks to the couple in happier days. Those flashbacks are heart-wrenching, capturing the exquisite tenderness of Cindy and Dean falling in love. In a modern world where divorce is perhaps more of a reality than the advertised ideal of true love, it is unbearably sad to see Cindy and Dean at their most romantic and hopeful, racing through the streets of Brooklyn, making love, discovering the mysteries of the other person, all contrasted with their marriage’s bitter end. Williams and Gosling pull off the remarkable feat of conveying bright possibility in the flashback scenes and exhaustion and squandered potential later. While Cindy works on call as a nurse (the subtext is that her dreams of being a doctor ended when she met Dean) and has ambitions of moving up in the world, Dean gets drunk before his job as a house painter, squandering the potential he once represented to Cindy. You are trapped along with them in the intimate hell of their predicament. If you have it in you to stare one of the most ordinary but devastating experiences known to human beings — the death of a relationship — in the face, then Blue Valentine is guaranteed to stay with you for a long time.

Film Credits

Official Site: bluevalentinemovie.com

Director: Derek Cianfrance

Writer: Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne and Joey Curtis

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Mike Vogel, Reila Aphrodite, John Doman, Ben Shenkman, Samii Ryan, Faith Wladyka, Michelle Nagy and Robert Eckard

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