Desperate to blog about my personal picks for 2010's major motion picture awards, I couldn't write it until I saw Blue Valentine. Now that I've finally seen it, you should expect my blog later this week. Now, back to the film. There's quite a big backstory to the widely regarded Indie hit Blue Valentine. While circuiting the festival scene, Cianfrance's sophomore release garnered an NC-17 rating. The movie's studio refused to push the film until it dropped down to an R rating. After a long dispute and various minor changes, finally the film rating board granted Blue Valentine its wish. The studio has placed the movie on a somewhat wide release, and as the old saying goes, "the rest is history".
Crafted as a non-chronological piece, Blue Valentine spans the relationship of a working class couple living in Scranton, Pa. The film centers around an evening spent by Dean (Gosling) and Cindy (Williams) in hopes of saving their crumbling marriage. Dean's a content man who sees his job painting houses as a luxury (it allows him to crack a beer open at 8am), while Cindy is a nurse who wishes more out of her husband. Once deeply connected by passion, the couple finds themselves emotionally distant and in dire need of a change. But can a romantic getaway simply solve their problems?
Blue Valentine is such a realistic depiction of love found and love lost. Cindy's character has a bit of dialogue that beautifully captures the whole essence of the film. While discussing the topic of love, she asks her grandmother (allow me to slightly paraphrase) "how can you trust your feelings, when they can change on you so quickly". Cianfrance does a wonderful job showing us origins of love and how real and authentic they can be. However, in the end, it's up to the individuals to make it work. And if not, "Sometimes love just ain't enough".
Gosling and Williams are two young artists with such amazing talent. If you had told me it was reality television, I may have believed you. One part of the film is so emblematic of their talents. While shooting a scene on a bridge, Cianfrance asked the pair to do some improvisation. Cindy (Williams) has just discovered she's pregnant, but doesn't want to tell her boyfriend Dean (Gosling). Desperate to know what's troubling her, Cianfrance instructed Gosling to do whatever is necessary to get the secret out of her. As the camera rolls with no safety net in place, Gosling climbs up and over the fence of the bridge. In true danger as he's dangling hundreds of feet above the water, Williams, obviously convinced, breaks down and tells him the troubling news. It's a very powerful scene that perfectly depicts Gosling's abilty.
Despite its convincing gritty and raw nature, Blue Valentine is not a film for everyone. The characters are flawed as human beings, and their flaws are evident to the audienc but not to each other. Witnessing their stubbornness on screen can be draining at times, but it's essential to the story. Their inability to listen or change is what's transformed their love into resentment. If you enjoy a phenomenally-acted indie flick and you can handle the little nuances of these imperfect characters, I definitely recommend Blue Valentine.