Sunday, April 03, 2011

"Blue Valentine" (2010) - Movie Review

“Blue Valentine” makes “Revolutionary Road” look like marriage made in heaven though there is a significant difference in the presentation. Sam Mendes film had a societal statement in the domestic disaster while Derek Cianfrance’s film just concentrates its entire energy on this domestic failure with surgical precision. For anyone planning to watch “Blue Valentine” I have to say that it is a sad sad film but I also have to say that you will be watching one of the best films of 2010.

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are Dean and Cindy. We meet at their day they begin to destroy this marriage to its brutal pieces with the ugliness it carries. We also reminisce their road to their wedding where Dean was a charming young man and Cindy a young woman enthralled by the presence of his charisma and being treated literally like a princess.

Derek Cianfrance approaches the film with what I would call as intimate presentation. Intimate not alone in their love and sex but in their disintegration of the union. I have not fallen in a wholesome love and I have not gone through a complete legitimate heartbreak but if I do then it will be the scathing sharp blade “Blue Valentine” takes and cuts up the pair. At the end of the film when I witnessed this disaster I cannot help but tell myself the pain on these couple but sometimes that is the best thing in this horrendous situation. The worst thing than this is when there is a kid involved unable to differentiate this as her perturbed innocence of unconditional love for both the parents still remains ready to be slaughtered. There is Frankie (Faith Wladyka) the adorable young daughter of Dean and Cindy.

Shot in the purist form of indie film format, it combines two mercurial performances of the year. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams go deep into the shattered dreams and burned hopes. They act out the misery with the grotesque nature it would bring in a marriage falling apart with its ups and downs. The day begins with their dog missing and Cindy hurrying through the morning to her hospital while Dean plays around with Frankie nurturing his inner kid. He begins his morning with a beer and works for painting company. He is completely content with the life he has chosen. Cindy does not.

They have adult discussions but goes to the land where each of the party makes sense in their own perspective. And then we see their high points in the past. Dean is the rugged young man coming to Brooklyn looking for work and landing up as hard working labour for a moving company. He is sweet, nice and utterly romantic as though every nook and corner there is a lovely lady waiting to see his act. It is not put up but it is too good to be true. He decorates an old man’s room just moving to an elderly home. He sees Cindy visiting her grandmother and plants the seed.

“Blue Valentine” is stubborn in giving a totally honest film regardless of the horror that happens in a terrible relationship. These are two people who began their life with nothing but unadulterated love and now are in this juncture of life where they make their effort to stay close physically and emotionally floundering. Cindy finds their missing dog dead by the roadside and both decide to leave their kid at grandpa’s house while they mourn for this lovely creature that represent their marriage. Dean suggests a night out of immense drinking and crazy lovemaking. Through the steps of that day right from meeting her ex in a liquor shop and then seeing Dean react to it we are close, up close and unavoidably on their face as they behave and pour dirt to the coffin of their marriage without a tombstone. Each navigate between being an asshole and a bitch with a perfect sine wave in timed frequency apart from each other.

What is so beautiful about a film that portrays a failure with so much care? Derek Cianfrance presents what every great directors sweat themselves to give the audience, an honest emotion. Does not matter whether it is happy or sad or erratic or crazy. It comes down to making the audience empathize more than sympathize. And Cianfrance gets two truly dedicated actors going above and beyond to symbolize that pain with a bloodied rose.

What can you say about Dean and Cindy? Were they great when they met? Were they completely swept by the love that unabashedly has rooted into the minds of current individuals growing up in the environment of sitcoms and hopeless romantic films? Was the unplanned pregnancy regardless of who the father was a good enough reason to tie the wedlock? What is that so much evident in the past of Dean and Cindy that they are making a mistake does not come through within them? The judgments of these kind Derek Cianfrance brings forth in his film question this institution with a fear and disgust like no other. Yet you know deep down inside that the happiest moment these two lived were indeed their best. The ultimate question is whether those memories are worth the hurt? You never know till you take a chance.


sanchez said...

I definitely loved your review on Blue Valentine. I have read other reviews and they were no where as good as yours. Just by reading it you made me want to take a chance and watch it regardless of the bad reviews I have read. A few friends I work with at Dish enjoyed watching it. They did indeed say it was a sad, realistic movie. So I ran across it on Blockbuster @Home the other day and got it in the mail right away. It's at home waiting for me so I can't wait to watch it.

Ashok said...


Thank you for the comment. You are too kind. I'm glad to have provided enough interest in the review to make you watch this excellent movie. I hope to get back in reviewing more films soon. Keep reading and do provide feedback. D let know what you thought of the film.