In Blue Valentine Derek Cianfrance presents a devastatingly candid look at love. Blue Valentine is actually two love stories. It is a story about falling in love and a story about falling out of love. Dean (Ryan Gosling) is a simple man with a simple life. He loves his wife and child. He like having a job that doesn’t take him away from his family. But his wife Cindy (Michelle Williams) has old ambitions that have not died. So they have grown apart despite the love they share. Their lives, hopes and dreams are separating and their marriage, unable to sustain he pressure, is crumbling. Flooded with romantic memories of their courtship, Dean desperately hope that one night away from the banal will rekindle the love he and Cindy once shared.
Despite all of this, Dean and Cindy cannot conceive of the idea of infidelity. They are faithful to the ideals of fidelity in love. But this doesn’t seem to be enough to sustain the relationship. They are helpless as they watch their marriage fall apart. When Cianfrance was asked what does he thinks the essence of the film and its characters are about, he responded simply, “Honesty. Beautiful ugliness. Terrible beauty. Love.” And he was spot on. What is beautiful is not always pretty and this is a beautiful film that captures the joy of new love and sorrow of love lost.
Cianfrance, Joey Curtis and Cami Delavigne show great promise in writing the screenplay for Blue Valentine and Cianfrance’s direction fulfills the promise of that greatness. Moreover, Gosling and Williams deliver relentless performances that are not merely convincing, but heartbreakingly real. Together they brings the psychological rollercoaster of love to bear in a devastatingly beautiful way.
Originally the film was rated NR, but Cianfrance appealed and the rating was changed to R. The scene in question is one in which Dean refuses to make love to Cindy because she doesn’t want to. The scene is painful and emotional, but not graphic or violent. It is one of the most beautiful and respectful scene in the movie. As another critic so astutely pointed out, the rating really speaks to the power of Cianfrance’s direction. Everything seems to be much more real than it actually is. This is one of the many reasons that Blue Valentine is at once mature while elemental, and one of my top ten best films of the year. http://www.bluevalentinemovie.com/
Cast (in credit order): Ryan Gosling (Dean), Michelle Williams (Cindy), Faith Wladyka (Frankie), John Doman (Jerry), full cast and crew.
US Release Date: 29 December 2010/San Francisco release 7 January 2010 (limited). Directed by Derek Cianfrance, written by Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis and Cami Delavigne; released by Weinstein Co. Running time: 120 minutes; MPAA Rated Rated R for strong graphic sexual content; genre: Drama.
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