As far as up-close, intimate romantic dramas go the unabashed insight of Blue Valentinedrags you emotionally deeper than you have ever been before. Starring Ryan Gosling (The Notebook, All Good things) as Dean and Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain, Shutter Island) as Cindy, who’s marriage is crumbling around them.
The film begins with their young daughter, Frankie, searching for their escaped dog. You slowly meet the jaded figures of Dean and Cindy who find their life’s pleasures outside their relationship. For Dean this is his endearing, fun-loving and childish relationship with Frankie. Whereas Cindy is a care-giver, as both a mother and a nurse.
Blue Valentine shows Dean and Cindy to be shadows of their former selves as it flashes back to the events which led to them meeting and getting married. Dean was a sentimental blue collar worker, wrapped up in ideas of masculine romance and chivalry. Cindy, surprisingly, was an intelligent, ambitious, blunt, political and sexual student.
As their pasts unravel the differences between them are pronounced yet they follow the “opposites attract” rule and fall in love in the most heart warming, lovable scene. Yet this is juxtaposed to the pale blue, neon lights of a cheap motel room where they flop drunkenly around in the turmoil of their present and their now antagonistic relationship.
It becomes evident that Cindy’s disappointment and neglect of Dean plus his chain smoking, heavy drinking, manual labour lifestyle have taken their toll. While Cindy’s growing unhappiness accents her every action.
Blue Valentine creates a high level of sympathy with both characters though Dean seems to be the most likable and charming. Oddly, however, you tend to not blame Cindy for her detachment and despondency in his stead.
Though Blue Valentine is regarded as quite harrowing in its intimacy, you are swept along into a film which is amazingly shot and acted by both Gosling and Williams. Although the rating of the film makes Blue Valentine more difficult to catch in the cinema it is worth the effort and if all else fails the DVD will be worth the wait.
Also posted on InQuire Live.