Review: Blue Valentine

Posted 2011-05-09 @ 23:30:03 In articles > reviews

We’re Damaged people

 

Painful glances tear out of empty souls, insinuations tread on every word spoken...this is a picture of a couple no longer able to give anything to each other.  The film Blue Valentine does not have a neat ending and is not easy to watch but is compelling in its brutal honesty and amazingly truthful performances.  Michelle Williams plays Cindy, the tired wife, once curious about her life and the possibilities of enduring love.  Her marriage to the once animated Dean seems to have aged away some of her dreams and have left her screaming for more balance and truth.  Ryan Gosling plays the increasingly childish and desperate husband Dean humiliated in his attempts to hold his marriage together.

 

Glimpses (in the form of flashbacks) of the young relationship show instances of once sweet and genuine moments of care between the two.  These scenes are injected into the disintergrating relationship between the two.  So we feel a great sense of regret by seeing the past destroyed by the present in this way.  Their married life becomes a cliché with Cindy working as a nurse and raising her daughter with her painter husband who has settled into the routine of waking up, drinking a beer, finishing work and getting to be nothing more than a husband and father.  Although we’re given glimpses of their earlier realtionship, much of the inbetween isnt revealed.  The audience however clearly sees that Cindy has grown increasingly tired and annoyed with her husband’s lack of aspirations (flashbacks suggest that her intentions of becoming a doctor must have been hampered by the unexpected arrival of a baby and marriage).  Clearly Cindy isn’t content with the life she and Dean have created.  I kind of found it striking how couples (most often young) give up their dreams under tragic circumstances thinking they’ll be able to bare with it.  But we all know that feeling a sense of failure or regret is an experience that doesn’t stop bothering the mind and heart.  Considering the circumstances under which the two marry, they have both committed to giving up their entire lives. 

 

William’s younger Cindy watches her own parent’s relationship become a routine of expectations and vows not to become like them...sadly her young love for Dean withers and gives way to bitterness and regret.  Initially Dean’s commitment, kindness and willingness to rescue Cindy endear him to her and in him she sees someone she can rely on.  In their early encounters Dean woos her with his ability to entertain her intelligence with his many talents.  While Cindy is initially intrigued by this, she grows to see him as more of a child which means that she pities him more than she loves him.  Both actors spent some time living in a house together, learning what it meant to be in close proximity to each other all the time and perhaps to establish their character’s sense of suffocation.  Williams and Gosling understand human nature and strip away themselves to add on layers of the characters they become so emotionally invested in.  For me the most painful and enduring scene of the film would arguably be the one in which Dean takes his wife to a cheesy sex hotel with a future theme room with the hopes of connecting with her.  We know it will end up in humiliation and it is this event that truly cements their inabiltiy to connect.  Both characters are left feeling hugely disapointed and alone, the fireworks end and all the burnt bits lie scattered.

 

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Tags . michelle williams . ryan gosling . compelling honest film
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Review: Blue Valentine
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