***Update: Check out interview with the director Derek Cianfrance***
When everyone told me that Blue Valentine was “great but depressing” I automatically expected someone to be raped, murdered, tortured, something… I never expected to see such a simple and yet honest portrayal of a broken relationship. Whether you’re a man or a woman, if you have ever loved and lost, you won’t make it out of this film unscathed. Both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams take on two extremely layered and vulnerable characters and give two phenomenal performances of one of the best scripts at Sundance.
This is a hard film to describe without giving too much away, but here it goes… You know that feeling in your stomach when you want something so bad that you do everything you can to get it, but no matter how hard you try the things you’re striving for is always out of reach? That’s this film.
Michelle Williams deserves an award, a standing ovation, a cookie, whatever she wants for her performance in this film. Many actresses shy away from a character as dark and as unlikeable as this, but she dives in and goes for it 100%. Her character, although possibly justified, is horrible. (SPOILER ALERT AHEAD – skip to next paragraph to avoid) You want to scream at her “just love the man!” but then you realize, no one can love someone if you don’t truly love them, no matter how good that person is. Of course, it’s debatable if she loves him or not, and the only person who can decide that is you. But one thing is certain, she makes a lot of bad choices and is in many ways masochistic and you can’t help but wish she could just do the right thing. (SPOILER ALERT END)
Ryan Gosling, again and again shows that he is one of the best actors currently working. It’s dire that you fall in love with his character in order for this film to work. He wins your heart, takes you on a journey, and gives himself completely to the film.
Unlike many around me, I would not describe the film as depressing. It’s a lot of things including hard hitting, honest, emotional, but it’s not necessarily depressing. Part of what makes it so great is that it is an experience and it doesn’t force any opinions on you, it simply presents an honest portrayal of two characters and allows for you to make of it what you will.
Walking out of the theater it was obvious that everyone saw what they wanted to see on the screen. The bottom line is that this movie effects its viewers differently and you’ll have to see it for yourself to see how what it will do to you.
Chances are its brilliance will tear you apart, but it’s so worth it.