Silverwood Films, 2010
Watching a marriage crumble is rarely sought after for entertainment purposes. But Blue Valentine, directed by Derek Cianfrance, beautifully balances this delicate subject with an intricate storyline and incredible performances by Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling. After premiering at the 26th Sundance Film Festival, Blue Valentine received countless accolades, most significantly Williams’ Academy Award nomination for best actress. After hearing all of the buzz surrounding the film, I was eager to see it in theaters in January. After experiencing this rewarding and moving movie, I encourage everyone to purchase the DVD when it is released on May 10, 2011.
Blue Valentine follows the lives of couple Dean Pereira (Gosling) and Cindy Heller (Williams) as their marriage begins to slowly disintegrate. Dispersed throughout the film are flashbacks of the beginning of their courtship, countering the emptiness of the current state of their relationship with the endearing nature of their initial meeting. Within a flashback, it is revealed that Heller is pregnant with a past boyfriend’s child, and Pereira commits himself to helping her raise the child. The audience cannot help but adore the couple in their younger state, which only makes watching their marriage crumble that much harder.
Gosling and Williams’ acting was possibly the most impressive aspect of this film, as both actors’ subtle yet powerful choices were captivating. Specifically, Williams’ portrayal of the troubled Cindy was both haunting and awe-inspiring. In one scene, Williams is actually given an abortion on screen, and while the audience cannot see the act being performed, they can see her face as well as hear the doctor talking her through the process. Williams’ fear and anguish was so believable and disturbing that I am still chilled by the thought of the scene to this day. She exhibited possibly some of the most incredible acting I have ever seen, and even if dramatic romance movies do not interest you, I suggest you see the film solely for her performance.
When looking for a fun rom-com with the girls or a charming first date movie, Blue Valentine is surely not the best choice of film. However, if you want to be genuinely affected by a moving, and poignant work and witness first-class acting, Blue Valentine is perhaps one of the most emotional and stirring films about struggling relationships to be released in a long time.