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Blue Valentine (A Movie Review)

Updated: Mar 12

Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine


Starring Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Faith Wladyka, John Doman, Mike Vogel, Marshall Johnson, Jen Jones, Maryann Plunkett, James Benatti, Barbara Troy, Carey Westbrook, Ben Shenkman, Eileen Rosen, Enid Graham and Ashley Gurnari.

Screenplay by Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis and Cami Delavigne.

Directed by Derek Cianfrance.

Distributed by Anchor Bay Entertainment.  112 minutes.  Rated R.

The subtitle to the movie Blue Valentine – which is simply “A Love Story” – might seem rather cynical on first glance.  However, when you really think about it, Blue Valentine is how most love stories go in the real world.  Perhaps, in their sugary-sweet romantic platitudes, it is the normal Hollywood romantic films which are actually the cynical ones.

This gritty little drama surveys the relationship of a young couple who married too young when she became pregnant.  Through a series of complications including violent ex-lovers, dead end jobs, the pressures of parenthood, differing educational levels, varying interests and simply time marching on, their passion has cooled.  Now they are casually hurtful to each other, sort of trying to hold on to a relationship they no longer feel, mostly for the sake of their daughter.

To make it even more tragic, Blue Valentine keeps flashing back about a decade to when they first met and their relationship was fresh and full of promise.

It’s not necessarily easy viewing, but it certainly is arresting.

This is mostly due to two stunningly exposed (emotionally and physically) performances by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as the couple in question.  Dean and Cindy meet cute in typical Hollywood fashion, but they fracture in a way that is exceedingly ugly.

There is a squalid desperation to their lives – which even extends to fact that the movie borrowed its title from a Tom Waits album and the tragic love song which sort of shares the album title (the song title is actually pluralized as “Blue Valentines.”)

Even when you don’t like the characters – and both of them do some horrible things during the story – you can’t help but feel for their plight and desperation.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2011 All rights reserved. Posted: May 10, 2011.

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