Monday, August 8, 2011

Blue Valentine

I had a suspicion watching Blue Valentine was not going to be all new books and Heath Bars (you mean that's not happiness for everyone?), but I didn't think it could be that bad. I mean, all of the quotes from critics on the back of the DVD talked about what a great love story it was. Love stories have happy parts, right? Not this one. After watching Blue Valentine, I felt like I would never be happy again. I thought, "Oh my gosh, this is awful" multiple times throughout the movie. I would have turned it off if I didn't have to watch it for the Shill. I can step back and objectively see that it was a very good movie, but I will never see it again.

Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean’s (Ryan Gosling) marriage is falling apart. Cindy is frustrated with Dean’s childishness and his lack of initiative despite his talent. Dean wants to do all he can to make the marriage work, but his progress is often set back by his alcoholism and extreme jealousy. All of these issues are further complicated because the two have a daughter: the incredibly adorable Frankie (Faith Wladyka). Dean’s last-ditch effort to save the marriage by taking Cindy to a motel (and leaving Frankie with her grandfather) is intersperced with events from the past that brought the two together in the first place.

Cindy and Dean are both three-dimensional characters—neither fit a complete stereotype, and both of their points of view are understandable. Gosling and Williams’ performances are spot-on; their emotions and actions are raw and believable. I cared for both of them and wanted for them both to somehow get what they were hoping for, making it all the more heartbreaking when I realized (early on) that it was impossible.

There’s no question that Blue Valentine was a well-made movie, but the experience of watching it was not worth it—at least not for me. Still, it gets a 4/5.

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