Review: Blue Valentine

I can’t say that I disliked this film, but I didn’t enjoy it, it’s incredibly heartbreaking and depressing. Blue Valentine follows the story of a couple who slowly fall out of love, with frequent and progressive flashbacks of how they met and how their relationship developed.

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are the main stars, Michelle was recently nominated at the 83rd Academy Awards for Best Actress, and both Ryan and Michelle were nominated for Best Actor and Actress respectively at the Golden Globes.

The film seems to start near the end of their relationship, they’re married and they have a kid together (though you never find out if the girl is his or not), Cindy (Michelle Williams) is a nurse and Dean (Ryan Gosling) is a house removal guy. There seems to be a lack of communication between them, but they both find comfort and happiness from their daughter. Their family dog, who was lost, is found dead which leaves everyone feeling sad. Dean decides to try to cheer up Cindy by booking a night in a hotel, “The cupid room, or the future room?” he asks her, Cindy doesn’t seem bothered by either of the options and the thought of travelling for hours doesn’t excite her.

The film is clever but heartbreaking and sad where it should be happy, in the way it shows how they met, in parallel to how they’re falling apart. Dean is desperate to keep them together, but Cindy shows a clear lack of disinterest and seems to be fighting off his affections.

I couldn’t decide who was worse off in the end though, even though you get a grasp of Dean’s dedication to Cindy, who drops everything to care and support for her when she’s pregnant, he doesn’t always do himself favours. The awkward scene in which Dean tries to make love to Cindy and asks her if she wants to have another kid, without her responding. He continues to try and make love to her, Cindy’s fighting herself, she’s accepting the love but then resists and starts hitting him. “What do you want?, Do you want me to rape you? Is that what you want?”, “I’ve been good to you, I’ve supported you, looked after you, what do you want from me?” he asks, it’s incredibly honest and awkward to watch.

The scene where they’re sat down and she’s asking him what does he want to do, and that he has so much potential because he’s so good at everything, him responding by questioning her motive behind the question itself, was so annoying. All I wanted him to respond with was his interests, goals and aspirations, yet he backfires and explains that he’s married to her and that’s what he wanted to do. As if he’s conveying that he’s stuck like that forever. I couldn’t tell if he was avoiding the question, or purposely trying to make her feel guilty for the apparent audacity of the question she’s just imposed on him. I personally didn’t think the question was out-of-order, but in a sense, I could also see it as a way of her deterring his thoughts of another child.

The hardest part of all, was right at the end, where emotions climax and they’re left with the ultimatum.

Ryan and Michelle were both very good, I couldn’t take my eyes away from the film, losing myself in it. I couldn’t decide whether Michelle was good or not, but I think I was over-analysing because she is just so natural. That’s what makes great acting, sometimes it isn’t about the challenges, or whether you can do a nude scene, it’s about luring the viewer into believing you really are that person, or that moment really is happening.



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