Thursday, February 3, 2011

Contemplating Blue Valentine: A Non-Traditional Movie Review

We think about the strong side-effects of viewing Blue Valentine.

Posted By on Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 7:39 PM

Last weekend I busted out of Bend and went to visit some of my girlfriends from college in Los Angeles. Of course, I left town the weekend two of the movies I’ve been anticipating most opened, Blue Valentine and 127 Hours (which Mike reviewed this week), meaning I wouldn’t be able to review either one for the print edition. Luckily enough, I saw Blue Valentine while I was out of town and decided to throw up a non-traditional movie review.

Blue Valentine stars Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling as a Cindy and Dean, a couple whose relationship has deteriorated over the course of their marriage. The film cuts back and forth from the present to the beginning of the relationship. In the present, Cindy works as a nurse and Dean paints houses. The couple has a five-year-old daughter, whom they droped off with Cindy’s father for the night so they can go away to a theme-room motel for some alone time.


Blue Valentine blended into a weekend already packed full of the girl-talk of four 24-year-olds, which consisted mainly of relationships, dating, work and how post-grad wasn’t at all what we expected. The questions of whose fault was it that Cindy and Dean’s marriage crumbled came up in discussion, which is impossible to answer. The film shows the couple’s courtship up until their marriage at City Hall and then jumps to the absolute breaking point five years later. Making any assumptions or judgments proves difficult as we miss the entirety of their marriage, aside from the last two days.

For her role as Cindy, Williams earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress, so the question remains - does she deserve it? Though her performance in Blue Valentine was exceptional, I’m still on the Natalie Portman boat for Black Swan on this one. But, Gosling definitely got snubbed for the Oscar nomination because his performance was outstanding.

Going into the screening, we knew not to expect a happy ending. What I found most interesting was the different reactions we all had to the film. Each of the four of us happens to be at completely different stages in relationships, which affected the way we interpreted the film. For myself, the perpetual single girl, I didn’t find myself deterred from marriage, but rather inspired to savor this time in my life without the complications of love and to never settle. Once the beautifully done credits ended, two of my friends, who are both in relationships, seemed to feel hopeless and both said the film made them not even want to get married because, “It’s all going to go to shit anyway”. My other friend, whose wedding I will be a bridesmaid in this August, simply replied, “I still do.”

Blue Valentine powerfully portrays a realistic modern relationship. Days after the viewing my girlfriends still discuss how the film lingers in their thoughts.

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