Why do we choose the people that we fall in love with? Is it out of love? Perhaps it’s because we’re physically attracted. Perhaps it’s because we just want to settle with someone who can take care of us and keep us company for a long time to come. But the same question can be reversed and asked…why do we choose the people that we fall out of love with?
Directed by Derek Cianfrance, Blue Valentine tells the story of two star-crossed lovers who are married who are gradually falling out of love and apart from each other. The film’s stars include Ryan Gosling as Dean, who is married to Cindy (Michelle Williams). The film weaves between the couple meeting and courting each other and their later life where they start to find that they are drifting apart and resenting each other.
I think the best place to start is what I liked about this film. The acting shown by both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams is great. They shine in this movie. I remember Michelle Williams from Dawson’s Creek and I have to say she’s grown tremendously as an actress and really has proven that she has some strong acting talent. As for Gosling, this is the second movie this year that I’ve been extremely impressed with his range as an actor. In All Good Things he showed his dark and mysterious side. And in this film he showed himself both to be a romantic and an emotional abuser to a woman. Quite impressive.
Unfortunately the above is about the only good thing I can say for the movie. The story interweaves itself between that of the present and the past and for the first couple minutes it’s frankly a little confusing. If I had known that was going to be the case going into the movie maybe it would have made a little more sense within the first fifteen minutes, but unfortunately I didn’t. Those people who sat around me felt the same way. Sure, the hair is different on Gosling, but the way the story weaves in and out could be a fluent story. So pay attention to both the tone and the visuals on screen as they appear and you’ll be alright.
Some of you may know that originally this movie was given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA. I honestly do not have a clue why it was. Thankfully the studio appealed and it was rightfully given an R rating. There is sex in this movie. There is nudity in this movie. There is violence in this movie, but not really physical. It’s more of an emotional violence that Gosling’s character uses towards Williams’ character. Don’t go into this movie expecting to see a lot of passionate love making. Sex is occasionally used for love, but a lot of the time it isn’t.
Sadly this movie did not measure up to the expectations I had for it. I wanted more from the story and it simply wasn’t there. I may give this one another chance on Blu-ray if there’s a director’s cut on the disc because I think that some of the story is missing. Some will say this tells the true story of marriage or a relationship. To them I say if you’ve found yourself in this situation before, you should have gotten out a lot earlier.
FINAL GRADE: C–
TRR Movie Revue by Bill Ayres