Blue Valentine * * * *


Director: Derek
Screenplay: Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis, Cami Delavigne.
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Faith Wladyka, John Doman, Mike Vogel, Ben Shenkman, Jen Jones, Maryann Plunkett.

All the major films from 2010 seemed to focus quite a bit on human suffering, ranging from psychological (“Black Swan”); physical (“127 hours”); communicative (“The King’s Speech”); loss (“Rabbit Hole”), and this one, focusing more on the side of love and the breakdown of a relationship.

It tells the story of the love between Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams). Told brutally in opposing time-frames: from when they are brought together and inter-cut with them falling apart and out of love.

Much like “Rabbit Hole”, this is a film primarily about the performances of it’s lead actors. Gosling (like Aaron Eckhart in “Rabbit Hole”) can consider himself very unlucky not to have been nominated for an Academy Award for his superb performance here. Once again he proves his ability as one of the finest young actors around at present. Williams also puts in a beautifully nuanced show but I’m not keen on one actor/actress receiving award recognition when it’s clearly a double-act they are part of. Williams’ and Kidman’s work – as good as they are – would not have been the same without their male counterparts, who sadly missed out. It undermines the performance of the other. The similarities with “Rabbit Hole” don’t end with the actors though, this is also a film about loss and grief, this time for a relationship. It’s like a death to the characters. It’s the end of an era, of something beautiful, and director Derek Cianfrance dissects the whole meat an bones of these two characters’ lives together. It’s a complete detailed analysis, told with unflinching realism and the very effective split time frame structure works a treat for this type of film.

A very bleak but tender anatomy of a relationship, with extraordinary performances from the leads, but certainly not a film for a romantic evening with your other half.

Mark Walker



2 Responses to “Blue Valentine * * * *”

  1. Just watched this the other day and it really struck a chord with me, I think it’s my favourite of all the films i’ve seen this year. I’m with you on the structure, the cuts back and forward were so effective…it was pretty brutal being thrown back into the present to watch their relationship collapse even more.


    • Glad to hear you enjoyed it man. I did too but it was bleaker than bleak. This was one of my old (and lazily written) reviews but the my feelings on the film still come through though. Thanks for stopping by on it man.


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