DVD Review - Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine was one of the best films of 2010. It was nominated for an Oscar and that nomination was properly given for the acting on display here, but a nomination for its writing and especially its direction would have been also well deserved.

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star as Dean and Cindy, a married couple whom we see at the beginning and at the end of their marriage. Writer-director Derek Cianfrance spent nearly a decade making this film.

He gave the material to Gosling and Williams years before they started shooting and had them really absorb it and fully create the characters. Then, a few months prior to shooting, he actually had them live together in a house in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Using video diaries, the two of them with the young actress who played their daughter really built a family, a living breathing one, so there was a genuine authenticity that they brought to the screen.

That authenticity is felt in every single scene between Gosling and Williams. Their love for one another, their disappointment, their frustration, their fear, and their anger are all felt. It's all so real and all so powerfully engaging. I don't know how any one watching it can not be pulled in by the two of them.

For Cianfrance, he perfectly juggles two timelines going at once. One timeline shows the incidents leading to Dean and Cindy falling in love. The other timeline shows the incidents leading to Dean and Cindy breaking up. Cianfrance cuts back-and-forth between the two timelines seamlessly and with great emotional balance.

Each of his scenes are so well written that they feel brand new. Yes, we've seen a myriad of ways in which boy meets girl. Yes, we've seen a myriad of ways in which two people do cute, romantic things. Yes, we've seen a myriad of ways in which two people argue to the point of divorce. Yes, we've seen all of this, but somehow Cianfrance and his actors make this seem so fresh and like we've never seen any of it before.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated R for a scene of explicit sexual content.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 52 mins.


Popular Posts