I finally got round to watching Blue Valentine, directed by Derek Cianfrance. I thought the film looked really promising and I’d wanted to see it for a log time. The film didn’t exactly break any box office records, but it had won a small handful of awards at American independent film festivals. Anyhow, I didn’t see how I could go wrong with a romance starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle William, two of my favourite actors. The film included improvised dialogue from the actors during the film, which is just one of the current and contemporary things about the film.
Blue Valentine is a film about a couple called Cindy and Dean. The film cuts back and forth from the early days of their relationship to its painful breakdown years later. The film shows them meeting when Cindy is a student living with her unhappy parents and looking after her grandmother, and Dean is working for moving and storage company. The couple rush into a marriage after discovering Cindy is pregnant, even though they are not sure whether Dean is he father, or if it is Cindy’s previous boyfriend. There is a strong contrast between their life as a young couple, when they are beautiful and effervescent, to the future when Cindy and Dean are older and their exhaustion from their relationship is all too apparent.
The film is incredibly sad and somehow completely unromantic. It’s a completely realistic and unflinching love story. It is basically about a relationship where once they were devoted, and now one of them just has nothing left to give. The performances were, of course, stunning, as was the whole production of the film. The film included an excellent use of music, and I can’t usually hack it when songs have been written especially for a film, but I thought it worked really well on this occasion.
Blue Valentine takes a very alternative and simple approach to the almost taboo subject of falling in then out of love. I couldn’t fully get my head around it and I think that’s why it will stay with me for a long time.