Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine

(M) Madman DVD/BD

This is a story of love found and love lost. Honest and emotional.

You experience both the end and the beginning of a relationship simultaneously.

Confrontational and scary, the end of a relationship is never easy and this film charts a whole marriage — what makes a person fall in love and what makes a person fall out of love.

The story of Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) is shot like a documentary, every frame analysing their relationship. A raw and emotional film that acknowledges that even the seemingly insignificant minutiae of life is important, Blue Valentine is an excruciating look at a relationship in slow decay.

Present day scenes are infused with overwork and ambitionless discontent; conversely, the scenes from the beginning of Cindy and Dean’s relationship are full of hope and love.

In one scene, after a particularly bad day, Dean books them both into a cheesy motel, where they ironically are checked into a future-themed room. Here, faced with only each other, they have a particularly bad night of marital relations which confirms for Cindy how far they have drifted apart.

She retreats to work and an environment away from the stifling nature of her marriage.

Intercut with these scenes are those from the beginning of their relationship, full of spontaneity.

Director Derek Cianfrance charts a relationship decaying from the weight of unspoken and unfulfilled expectations and disappointment.

By flashing backwards and forwards, present and past work together to form a picture, memory fragmented to remind the protagonists what was and is.

The performances of Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling are the most emotionally honest and raw you may see ever committed to film.

Williams again proves that she is able to embody and play roles with fierce integrity and vulnerability and her skill at communicating emotion without uttering a word is astonishing.

Gosling’s performance as the thin-skinned, emotionally volatile but loyal Dean strangely gives the film its moral centre.

The film has a wisdom and integrity in the way that it seems to deal with the subject matter, the genuine emotions of this married couple.

I wouldn’t call it entertaining, but the actors and the director confront both the light and the dark of the human condition.

Adrian Drayton

 

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