Movie Title: Blue Valentine
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Date Released: January 24th, 2010 (Sundance Film Festival)
Date Seen: April 26th, 2013
Part 1 – Spoiler Free Quickie Review
If you want to cry all the tears in the world – go watch this movie. It’s not my normal type of movie, but I’ve been meaning to watch it for a while – especially after having watched “The Place Beyond the Pines” by the same director. So I decided to watch it and just see what happened. I was amazed by how much I enjoyed this movie, despite it being so outside my normal genres. This movie is not one that’s going to have a happy ending, but it is so good to watch. It is brilliantly shot, acted, and written, it is just a super sad story. The movie follows a couple, Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) as we watch their current marriage situation – not to happy, things not going great. We are inter-cut with scenes of both their lives pre-meeting each other all the way up to their wedding day. It’s brilliantly shot and allows you to understand their story better and better as time goes on (obviously). The movie opens with a scene that instantly connects you to the family, having you caring about them from the beginning. It’s exceedingly well done. The timing of certain events in the present with the events that were cut in from the past were GENIUS. You will cry for happiness and sadness in the same 10 seconds span. It’s great.
I think Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams had great chemistry, which makes a huge difference in how the movie turned out. The scenes where we see them meeting and falling in love are so adorable that you find yourself wishing that you could have that exact same thing. It’s adorable. The girl who plays their daughter, Faith Wladyka, clearly connected great with Ryan Gosling (we see Frankie way more interacting with him than the mom) and it was great too. Really just everyone that acted in this movie was phenomenal.
Part 2 – In-Depth Spoiler Ridden Review/Synopsis
There is a good synopsis here.
A couple of scenes early on already had me choked up. One of them quite possibly made me cry the most was a very happy scene. When Dean is moving the old man, Walter, into his room at the nursing home. Rather than just willy nilly, quickly unpack the boxes, Dean spends the time to actually set up the room, getting out the little matchbooks and taping them to the walls, putting up pictures of Walter and his wife all over the room so wherever he is, he can see them. He also hangs up a flag and Walter’s old military uniform that Dean found in a box. Then, despite being rushed out by his coworkers, Dean still shows Walter everything in his room. The old man is clearly overwhelmed by everything Dean has done for him, but is so happy and excited. It was a very powerful scene. It was one of my favorites.
When Cindy and Dean met on the bus, I thought their interactions were hilarious. I found her child molester joke funny, but then again, I’m a sicko (go to the main page and look at the majority of the movies I watch for evidence). My favorite scene in the whole movie was soon after that when Dean is playing the little guitar and singing the song to Cindy while she dances. It was so adorable. I went back and watched it again later because it was just so dang cute.
I didn’t find the scene in the hotel room hard to watch at all. And I thought it was clear, that Cindy kind of wants Dean to hurt her, because she is looking for any excuse to leave him. So then she gets upset when he won’t, because Dean just isn’t that kind of person. The very next day though, conveniently, Dean is a dick-wad at the hospital giving Cindy a ready made way to ask for a divorce. I didn’t find her very likable in the later years, but I can see where her stress and frustration was all coming from.
I do not think at the end that Dean was going to leave forever. Yes, he might get divorced from Cindy, and yes, Frankie is not biologically his daughter. But Dean is Frankie’s dad no matter what. A TON of their present day stuff showed the adorable interactions between Dean and Frankie. I’d like to think that there’s no way he’d abandon her. If he did, he’d be starting the circle of a child growing up in a broken home all over again (like he had… but a house with fighting parents is what Cindy had). So, yes, that’s what I’d like to think and I’m not going to change my mind.
I highly recommend this movie to fans of Derek Cinafrance, the director, or Ryan Gosling. If you like dramas, watch it. If you like really well shot, smart, relationship stories, watch it. It’s great. It will make you cry little baby tears, but it will be totally worth it.