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Blue Valentine

A film staring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams

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People Change and Feelings Change...Life in Marriage And Marriage In Life....

  • Jan 9, 2011
Love and Marriage. Life and Marriage. How about life and love in marriage? We’ve all heard the stories; why some couples make it and some don’t. I guess I would be lying if I said that director Derek Cianfrance’s “Blue Valentine” brings something new to the table as with films about the hardships of marriage. No, it doesn’t offer anything different, but I guess it is its familiar elements that makes it easily accessible and believable. For some reason, this film reminds me of “The Story of Us” with Bruce Willis and Michelle Pfeiffer, albeit that movie had a more uplifting end theme. However, if at all possible, “Blue Valentine” may offer a much more pessimistic view about marriage. Beware, this film is very real and offers the portrayal of a couple who was so taken by each other during their younger days and those feelings begin to wane after a time.

Please keep in mind that the MPAA had given the film’s original version the dreaded NC-17 rating; only after careful editing by the director was the film given a friendlier R rating. Boy, why do those clowns in the MPAA have to cramp my style?

                  Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine."

Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) is a married couple with one child. The two are making ends meet, Dean is an ordinary laborer while Cindy works at a medical clinic. Cindy seems to have become more ambitious while Dean is content with their everyday life; Cindy wants more from the marriage while Dean is happy with just being a husband and a father. To make things worst, their busy hours seem to keep them apart and one day, the two decide to go on a getaway in a distant love hotel to try and rekindle the seemingly elusive feelings and perhaps the couple can bond once again. But as the evening passes, the effort seems to be hampered by alcohol and some unwelcome sexual advances. Now, it seems like the two are finally starting to talk, but the responsibility of real life may damper the candle of love….

Again, I have to say that the film has little to nothing new to offer in the stories of a broken marriage. The events that take place between our two protagonists are very familiar, and the roots of their problems are nothing new in our eyes. What makes “Blue Valentine” innovative is the fact that the film is structured in a way where the past plays a parallel to the present. We see similar scenes and yet they are so different. The direction was very wise to develop the characters and the story in a manner that cements the present and at the same time, makes the viewer long for the past. It was a touch that emulates that cause and the effect while we see exactly why things are the way they are and what they were before.

                       Ryan Gosling as Dean in "Blue Valentine."

                       Michelle Williams in "Blue Valentine."

“Blue Valentine” has a very contrived plot. A wife who wants more ambition and plans for success from her husband (there were hints of Cindy complaining to co-workers about Dean), while the husband is content with what they have. They have one last bond they share and this is their child. The film is about how people changing with their situation, responsibilities and as they get older, some minds tend to re-think the marriage while other minds stay the way they are. There is no right or wrong in a situation like this. Dean is a committed husband and father, he sees no wrong in what he is doing and in a way there is nothing really wrong; she keeps that care-free attitude as he goes through his life. Cindy seemed to have outgrown that naivety, she wants more from Dean, for her child and for family. Cindy dreams while Dean stays within his limits. There is nothing right or wrong, and yet the two are in a crumbling marriage.

For a film like this to succeed, the performers would have to be really convincing and effective in their roles. Gosling and Williams does form dynamic chemistry with each other. Their scenes together as they talk about their situation is troubling and what makes it more bothersome is the fact that the two could communicate so well in the past and now they almost appear like strangers. The film has several moments that define their relationship, all revolving around their past sweeping moments of love and that feeling of excitement, then the realization of marital dead weight in the present. What once was humorous in the past now serves as something irritating. The director was also smart to focus on human behavior to bring forth the emotions, the viewer witnesses the extremes of the time periods and it makes it easy for one to feel the effects of such changes. It was easy to feel attached to our protagonists; and I know the male point of view may take Dean‘s side while the female viewpoint may sympathize with Cindy.

                          Ryan Gosling as Dean and Michelle Williams as Cindy in "Blue Valentine."

Love is fulfilling. Marriage is something that celebrates love. Marriage means duty. Life is hard and sometimes, marriage is even harder. You work on a marriage everyday and what’s more, you work harder on staying in love everyday. You make marriage work. You need to work as a team and believe in each other. “Blue Valentine” brings forth a rather grim and very pessimistic view of marriage. But one has to remember, people grow and oftentimes they change because of the problems life throws at them. You know what is harder than staying single, it is working on a marriage and trying to stay in love. Hey, life never gives you a free pass…so one has to do the best he can.

Highly Recommended! [4+ Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Blue Valentine"  Poster art for "Blue Valentine"

People Change and Feelings Change...Life in Marriage And Marriage In Life.... People Change and Feelings Change...Life in Marriage And Marriage In Life.... People Change and Feelings Change...Life in Marriage And Marriage In Life....

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October 06, 2011
The review has many insights, as well as implications for marriage in today's world.
May 15, 2011
I really enjoyed reading your review, Woo-William. I decided to conveniently take a homework-free pass and not review this film. I saw it yesterday on 'Netflix' DVD, and I wasn't disappointed with my expectations of the two leads. In fact, just seeing a trailer for this film last week (Was it a preview on 'The King's Speech?) it became a "must see" on my list. The fragmented presentation was a mixed blessing, but I knew something was missing for me. You need a night to think about it. Anyway, I've been reading several reviews today--nice to be on the other side for once--and I enjoyed your lucid and perceptive take of this difficult film. Cheers. JP
May 17, 2011
Thanks for the compliments, JP and thank you for taking the time to read my review. I know I liked this movie and the performances were indeed excellent. That feeling that you get that something was missing may be coming from the same area that I just couldn't give it a higher than 4 star rating. It was good, but somehow I liked the drama of STORY OF US better. Nice mention of the fragmented have you been?
January 10, 2011
Sounds like a deep and depressing film, lol. Not sure if I would watch this one anytime soon. Been in the mood for comedy. I didn't know that Frank Sinatra sang the "Love and Marriage" song from "Married with Children." Very cute, lol!
January 11, 2011
Yeah, this movie was simple and it was rather hard to take. The only thing that kept me from giving it a 4.5-5 is the fact nohing much happens in the final act. It was part of its charm but I thought it was missing something. Still a great movie though. You should also check out Pandolfi's review of this movie...
January 11, 2011
Will go read that now. Thanks for the recommendation. :)
January 10, 2011
Oh, yeah, I saw a preview for this and it looked awesome. Nice job with the photos. By the way, you're first sentence had me thing you were going to break into the "Married with Children" theme song. LOL!
January 10, 2011
Thanks! That's a great's the song....(should've added it to the review) LOL!

August 01, 2011
Well, I just saw this last week and I really liked it. The performances are great, though I wasn't as impressed by the director, but still, a great film about the complications and dissatisfaction that arises in married couples.
January 09, 2011
Thanks for the reco, Woo! I'm definitely into seeing this movie and have known couples that have gone through the same exact situation as these two. Everyone wants to think that it won't happen to them but, that's not true. I guess the thing that would be a little off putting if they can communicate well since most of the time that's our number one reason we give to marriages failing. Thanks :)
January 10, 2011
This was a tough watch. I wouldn't go as far as it was entertaining but it was brilliantly executed, it was bold in the way it potrayed a slice of reality and the characters were very accessible that the film became engaging and enthralling. Marriage is hard (I know) but all a couple can hope for is to be able to communicate when times get difficult. Thanks for the read, Sam!!
January 10, 2011
It sounds like a rough watch but, I think that those are the best forms of art- those that don't go down easily. It forces you to look at yourself and your own situation and come to terms about things that you may not want to face. I bet that's how a bunch of couples thought about this like they thought of themselves after Revolutionary Road.
January 10, 2011
Exactly. Those are the reasons why I like arthouse-Independent cinema. It makes one ponder and reminds us a lot about reality. This review is coming from someone who has been divorced. It's like movies like this say what we need to hear. I need to review Revolutionary Road; I have no idea why I never did, I think it was because I was more involved with Foreign films when it first came out. Seen STORY OF US?
January 11, 2011
Aww....sorry to hear about your divorce, Woo, I had no idea! I definitely agree with you, that's why I like arthouse-indy films too- they have so much more substance than most of what's out there. No, haven't seen Story of Us yet, did you read @vemartin's review?
January 11, 2011
Me too, but I think sometimes a happy ending means you being on your own, starting all over again. It was the best decision for me. Exactly. I hope you review an indie film soon. Nope I haven't read that one yet but I am on my way....
January 11, 2011
I'm glad it all worked out. I've been in negative relationships before and the best thing was finding the strength to leave and start over and...then, a month later I met Nando LOL. I need to review ANY film soon, I owe you BIG TIME!
January 11, 2011
Yeah, it makes us stronger. I just have to move on, but I have to say dating again can be a pain LOL! Take your time in reviewing, oh, can you please check out the message I just sent? I am getting glitches all over.
January 11, 2011
You got it! Hope I helped! If not, I do have some special elf magic I can work out for you ;p
January 11, 2011
nope it didn't work, I can't move the review. it is weird since I can add a topic when it is coming from Movie Hype!
January 11, 2011
Oh, Sam, Sharrie did a groovy review about marriage....
January 09, 2011
Finally, you saw it! I'm not sure I agree that the story is contrived; the story is so true to life that it really didn't seem like the work of a screenwriter. At least, to me it didn't. But nevermind -- you liked it!
January 09, 2011
Yes! Finally it was playing in my area. There was a decent crowd too. You and @BlackSheep got me all excited about this movie and it was worth every minute. The film's structure is just amazing, and the acting was excellent. Loved that scene when they were trying to make love in the hotel. I guess what I meant was the story at its core is very familiar and may seem contrived--byt hey, I liked it!! Thanks, Chris!
January 09, 2011
2 bad they felt the need to cut and get that R, excellent review WP.
January 09, 2011
Yeah, I am so getting the NC-17 version when the dvd drops. They had to cut out some extended sex scenes and some edgy dialogue as I heard. How have you been? did you see my QT of you (check out your community)? LOL!
January 09, 2011
Been good WP, how are you doing good Sir? And I will be checking that out right now.
January 17, 2011
I'm fine. I was just thinking of writing a tribute review...been awhile since I've done that.
January 09, 2011
I love "The Story of Us" :-) Imho, this movie tries to portray differences in the direction and speed of 2 individuals' personal growth. For a marriage to survive the reality and excitement of life, both need to grow in generally (more or less) the same direction. When one "outgrow" the other, it is still ok, but to demand another person to change to one's expectation, then it's disaster. It doesn't have to be marriages, it's the same with friends and friendship or corporate relations... it's simply human ;-) Interesting to see your take on this one! :-)
January 09, 2011
I also really liked THE STORY OF US; I thought it was one of Pfeiffer's best portrayals ever. Movies about a crumbling marriage usually have a common denominator among them, unless it is adultery then it would be something about change and life. I have yet to see a film that makes a compelling portrayal about a crumbling marriage in a comfortable life. I dunno, I guess a dying light filled with hardships in a plot is just more interesting than one built on a comfortable marriage. This film doesn't point any accusing fingers though I am sure viewers of the same sex will easily relate to what the characters have to say...

You do makes point there, Sharrie, a team has to change together but what if....? 
January 11, 2011
Marriage is an institution; love is not, neither is growth ;-)
January 11, 2011 should do a write up on that.
January 11, 2011
You like to give me ideas, LOL... DONE!
More Blue Valentine reviews
review by . January 30, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
It's a movie about life, or rather marriage, as they say. Is it really?   If marriages are like this, then it's uninspiring and one wonders why so many people are flocking to the church for the wedding of a lifetime! This year, Prince William and Kate Middleton are getting married. That's right, despite his parents' failed marriage. It shall be the wedding of 2011 for most people in the UK. That's sidetracking...      Anyway, Blue Valentine is not …
review by . May 23, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****     "Blue Valentine" is a film that speaks to me because it shares my exact philosophies and musings on the mere concepts of love and romance. I felt like I knew these two lovers within myself; which was a good feeling, even through their often times difficult-to-watch hardships. "Blue Valentine" will not be the easiest of films, but it's one of the strongest depictions of on-screen romance I've seen in quite some time. Love it or hate it; "Blue Valentine" does …
review by . January 18, 2011
BLUE VALENTINE is a low budget film, telling us about the beginning and end of a marriage. It stars Ryan Gosling & Michelle Williams. The movie shows us "now" over the space of just a couple of days, as we see this couple along with their roughly 5 year old child, going through mundane tasks and the final arguments that lead to their split. The film also bounces back to the few weeks or months from their first meeting until the day they get married. We see them about 5 or 6 years younger, na├»ve …
review by . December 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
      BLUE VALENTINE      I came into this movie expecting nothing mainly because I didn't care enough about it. I hadn't heard to much about it when it came out so I didn't pay much attention to it. But after reading the review of this film from Sir William of Woopak I decided to give it a try. I am really glad I did now because the story is very real and the performances here are excellent.      The film follows Michelle Williams …
review by . December 30, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
“Blue Valentine” is about as perfect a film as any you’re likely to see. Even with the recent release of the brilliant “Rabbit Hole,” it’s been ages since I’ve seen a story so resonant with characters so real. Many wonderful films have taken life issues and heightened them for dramatic emphasis; this movie presents itself so authentically that, if it weren’t for the casting of Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, I might have mistaken it for a work …
Quick Tip by . December 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Now there are moments that some may not want to see and this is not a particularly happy film. Still with all that said I still think it is worth a rental at least. Sure it may not be for every body but it just may be for you. So in the chance that is you, pick it up. This is a great flick with excellent acting.
review by . January 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
This movie was never going to have a happy ending, I knew that going in. All I kept hearing was that was the most depressing movie of all time. Knowing that I took this to be a classic who done it? Like most people I want a fall guy, I want to know what happened here. I want to know why these beautiful and crazy kids are doomed to fail.   Enter Ryan Gosling as the care-free Dean, i doubt he had too much going for him before this story starts and is not too worried about his future. While …
review by . January 31, 2011
Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) are a married couple with a little girl named Frankie who looks to be about three or four. Cindy works as an ultrasound technician. Dean is a house-painter.      Dean is really good with Frankie, in part because he's still kind of a kid himself, and not in a good way. After agreeing with Frankie that the oatmeal Cindy made her looks disgusting, he plops spoonfuls of it all over the table and suggests that they eat the raisins …
review by . January 22, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
   Without taking sides, Blue Valentine deals with extreme situations and draws parallel lines between his two main extreme opponents. The relationship between Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) evolves beautifully by covering touching issues and contrasts within the life of two once-lovers. It doesn't get too melodramatic, it doesn't get cheesy nor predictable and it juggles with the emotional core of the movie. Dean is a low-educated guy, who is ruled only by his …
review by . December 31, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Blue Is a Serious Understatement
BLUE VALENTINE   Written by Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis and Cami Delavigne   Directed by Derek Cianfrance   Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams       Cindy: How do you trust your feelings when they can just disappear like that?   Gramma: I think the only way to find out is to have those feelings.       When they say, “For better of for worse,” in wedding vows, I believe they are referring …
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Blue Valentine
is a 2010 American romantic drama film written and directed by Derek Cianfrance that premiered in competition at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. It is co-written by Joey Curtis and Cami Delavigne and stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. The film was scored by Brooklyn band Grizzly Bear.
The film centers on a married couple, Dean and Cindy, and their relationship over a number of years by shifting between different time periods. Problems with the marriage centre around Cindy's ambition, juxtaposed to Dean's contentment to centre his life around his wife and child.
The script recently won the Chrysler Film Project, a competition that awards cash to an outstanding new feature film director, selected from over 550 submissions from across the country, overseen by Independent Feature Project, and evaluated by a panel of eminent film industry professionals.
The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival. It will be distributed by The Weinstein Company, and set for a limited release on December 31, 2010 in USA. The movie will be released earlier in Australia on December 23, 2010.
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Director: Derek Cianfrance
Genre: Drama, Romance
Release Date: Dec. 31, 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Screen Writer: Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis
Runtime: 120 minutes
Studio: Think Films
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