About the film
Blue Valentine is a 2010 romantic drama film. It has a run time of 112 minutes and a rating of 15 due to language, sex scenes and some violence.
Blue Valentine tells the story of Dean and Cindy, a couple who let their past experiences affect their relationship. The film uses flashbacks to explore their lived before marriage and during their marriage. Dean was a high school dropout, from a broken family and never saw himself as having a family and a wife of his own. Cindy also comes from a dysfunctional family although with a better background. When she and Dean meet, she’s in medical school. She has ambition but he doesn’t. He’s more than happy working in a job where he can have a beer anytime he wants.
As the film switches between their courtship and married life, it shows how their characters have changed and why. As married adults, Dean and Cindy have a young daughter, Cindy works as a nurse but Dean doesn’t do anything. He doesn’t have a job nor does he care to get one. This is a story of how either one large event or several small ones can affect more than one person’s life.
What I thought
Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are two of my favourite actors so I was quite shocked with myself that it took me so long to watch this film. Both have a habit of taking roles in very different films compared to the average rom-com or action film which is why I like them so much.
In Blue Valentine, Gosling and Williams play Dean and Cindy, a couple who have been through a lot. To begin with we get to see how unhappy they are in their marriage. Cindy is a nurse working hard to support her family, along with young daughter Frankie. Dean, however, is a bit of a lowlife who has no job and doesn’t seem to care about much other than drinking and Frankie. It quickly becomes clear that there have been a number of things which have led to such an unhappy time. Throughout the film, there are flashbacks to before the couple have met and then, while they begin to date. The way of telling the story was fantastic because it meant that the audience get to see everything that happened between the couple.
At the beginning, Dean understands that he is never going to make much of his life, so he doesn’t aspire to. He’s quite happy working to support himself as best as possible. He doesn’t want a happy ever after, he doesn’t want a wife and he certainly doesn’t want children. Gosling is shown as quite a carefree and handsome young man who comes across as very likeable, even with his lack of passion for life. When the film flips back to the present day, he’s balding and very run down. This type of role, especially the look, is something very different for Gosling as most of his roles take full advantage of his good looks. As in all of his roles, Gosling takes this one to the max. He’s very charismatic as a young man but angry and upset as a married man. The contrast in his character’s personality was fascinating to watch as it could have been two completely different people.
Williams was just as good in her performance as Cindy. She comes from a dysfunctional family but is trying to make something of herself. She wants a better life and a better future but things get in the way. One bad experience after another leads her to Dean and even when she doesn’t want to know, he works his way into his life. Cindy’s character is just as raw and as full of emotion as Dean’s. Together, Gosling and Williams make a fantastic but emotional and broken couple. They both have so many problems and destroyed pasts which partly is what brings them together. With two great actors playing the lead roles, you know you are going to get passionate and heartfelt performances from them both.
As well as there being a great cast, albeit a very small one, the film is very stylish. The filmmakers have filmed this in such a way that makes you feel as though you are there with Dean and Cindy in every single scene. This, along with the plot, makes everything seem much more real. The setting of Blue Valentine is cold and quite dreary. It makes you believe that you are investing your time into two real people and a real relationship, rather than a Hollywood couple. This is certainly not a film that makes you feel warm and gooey inside but instead, makes you realise that people do have problems and that not all relationships have happy endings. This is a film that does not give you a false sense of hope not any illusions that it will all work out well in the end. Blue Valentine is a film that is extremely truthful, harsh but somehow beautiful at the same time.
Although for me, Gosling excels in everything he does, this is by far one of my favourite films from him and to have Williams co-star just makes it even better. I call this one a must see!