‘A moving story about love found and love lost’.
Filled with anguish, pain and a deep-rooted honesty, many of the scenes in Derek Cianfrance’s directorial debut Blue Valentine are genuinely difficult to watch, as a troubled couple begin to realize their love for one another is no longer enough.
Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams play Dean and Cindy, a couple whose charms are also their faults.
Dean is a loveable but irresponsible father figure with no true ambitions and Cindy is a frustrated and complex young woman whose life is shaped by the rejection of her father and the shock pregnancy which throws the couple in to a whole new dimension.
The film moves between the couple’s crumbling relationship in the present and their blossoming relationship in years gone by.
The transition is artistically marked with the use of a 16mm celluloid film, giving it the grainy feel of a home movie, as if you are simply a fly on the wall.
The personal close up shots and hard-hitting sequences, such as their attempt to patch up their relationship in the ‘Future Room’ of a sleazy hotel, only add to the raw truth of the film.
There is no censoring or apologies; the truth is thrown at you with full force, which creates a strong emotional impact.
The ‘Future Room’ marks the moment of realization, ironic really.
This is only added to with Dean’s charming rendition of ‘You always hurt the ones you love’ in the flashback sequences, something they both end up doing.
Taking twelve years to develop and with none of the pretensions of modern cinema, the film is believable to the point that you think you know the couple personally.
Maybe relatable is more the word.
This combined with the obvious chemistry between the leads and their brave dive into what must have been an emotional filming, Blue Valentine, although a little depressing, has a charm which is often lost in the modern film world.
Even without a complex plot and clever special effects, the raw emotion of the story is enough to make it worthy of its praise and the time it has taken to come to fruition.
Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams and Faith Wladyka