Guess that’s why they call it the blues…

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How can a perfect love between two people go so wrong? This is the question director Derek Cianfrance explores in the new romantic drama ‘Blue Valentine’. Similar to the new-wave style of Jean-Luc Godard, Cianfrance offers a beginning, middle, and end to the love story between blue-collar Brooklyn Dean (Ryan Gosling) and ambitious medical student Cindy (Michelle Williams), but not necessarily in this order. Light-hearted, chain-smoking Dean is content with the potential he has reached as a father and husband, whereas ambitious Cindy grows increasingly bitter about her social entrapment, comfortable and motivated making an incompatible duo.

Charting the evolution of a relationship and its eventual demise, the film cross-cuts between time periods, making the demise of the lovers almost hard to bear. While ‘Blue Valentine’ lends a great deal of its cinematic success to Cianfrance’s minimalist style, and the intensity is ratcheted up with a thorough use of extreme close-ups, the film is essentially an actor’s film. Gosling and Williams offer an experience that leaves you feeling like an intruder in nearly every scene with the realistic vulnerability of the characters, from fleeting glance from a naïve young girl to the drunken rage of a jealous man. Already surrounded by Golden Globe nominations and Academy Award whispers, ‘Blue Valentine’ might be well sad, but it’s a love story nonetheless. 

 

‘Blue Valentine’ is available on DVD and Blu-ray through Madman Entertainment.