Tense, convincing and hypnotic are the three words that come to mind when describing Blue Valentine. The story is one that most everyone knows or has lived through but it’s the presentation, performances and cinematography that make it intriguing, involving and sometimes disturbing. Women will probably like the film more than most men, but Blue Valentine still makes a good date movie, just maybe not on Valentines Day.
The soundtrack includes “you always hurt the one you love” perfect for the tone and an excellent description of the film. In Blue Valentine a young couple Dean (Gosling) and Cindy (Williams) try to restart the love that has disintegrated over the years. Thinking back on their lives together, the two try to find the spark that ignited their love and guided them over time. With the possibility of breaking up forever, they take a chance on one night together on a quest for happiness.
Director Derek Cianfrance takes us deep into the psyche of the couple and we the audience are like voyeurs trying to find out if there is a lesson to learn or a pitfall to avoid. Even though Blue Valentine gets a bit formulaic both Gosling and Williams keep it fascinating and entertaining. Maybe it’s the personality of the characters they portray or the chemistry between the two, but however you find it to be; to me it’s a lesson in relationships.
Creatively speaking, Blue Valentine provides an excellent example for students of film. The realism of the characters, seamless plot development and skillful filmmaking make the film a treasure trove of educational value. While the two leads are burning up the screen with romance, lust, conflict, anger and futility, their craft becomes the center of attention here for both instructor and student.
The film is rated R for strong graphic sexual content, language, and a beating.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Strong in all phases of film making. (B)
Film Editor John Delia has been on all sides of the movie business from publications to film making. He has worked as a film critic with ACED Magazine for more than 10 years and earned a Bachelors degree in communications from the University of Florida. John is a member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association. Follow John on Twitter @staragent1 or send John a message at firstname.lastname@example.org