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Archive for the ‘Blue Valentine’ Category

Blue Valentine – DVD review

Blue Valentine – DVD Review of the Week

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How did we get here?  How did we end up this way?  What happened to us?  These are all questions that we ask ourselves during the course of our life, during the different stages of our life.  It is also the number one question that Blue Valentine asks, and maybe doesn’t attempt to answer, but perhaps allows us to try and understand during the course of the film.

Ryan Gosling (Dean) and Michelle Williams (Cindy), two actors that are at the height of their craft, are a young couple with a young precocious daughter Frankie.  The film opens as we see they’ve been married for a few years.  Dean is a chain smoking handy man, who’s receding hairline and ill tempered manner, begin to show his age.  Cindy is a nurse in a hospital.  She is constantly hustling to and from work, and trying to fit her daughters plays and other activities into her busy life.  We are firmly planted within their lives in the present moment.

The film then begins to implant flashbacks of both Dean and Cindy in the times before they met.  We see the people they once were on their own.  We begin to see the people they surrounded themselves with.  Family, friends, ex lovers and co-workers, all have an influence on them in the early stages of their adult lives.  We begin to learn how these peoples ideas of love, life and happiness have affected them along the way, and then they meet each other.  They take the collective knowledge of their past and merge those experiences, thoughts, feelings and desires together in a new life that they share with each other, an intensely passionate life.

The film continues to cut back and forth, between the past and the present, and the scenes are near identical in nature, but the force that drives them is completely different.  We see two complete sides of a coin.  It is an intensely passionate relationship on one end, and a relationship that is constantly striving and making attempts to re-kindle that passion on the other end.  It is a romantic and beautiful film, but at times it is a painfully poignant picture of reality.

Blue Valentine is a character driven film, and it would be just another film about a couple dealing with adversity if it weren’t for the tremendous acting of both Gosling and Williams.  It is a film that transcends beyond other films like it within its genre because of them.

We are voyeurs looking in on their life.  I don’t think it’s Blue Valentine’s job, or even position to ask us to pass judgement on these people.  It’s just showing us a window into something that most of us have experienced at one time in our lives, or may experience in the future of our lives.  It’s just a window, and it does a hell of a job of being that window without being too preachy, and without being too heavy-handed.

Grade:  A-