BLUE VALENTINE, Derek Cianfrance (2010)

Romance is definitely a subject I feel particularly sensitive to, considering my personal situation it’s not weird at all, nevermind, regarding films, I can stand drama, but don’t feel really interested in this kind of genre, no matter most movies include the loving issue at some point.

I was recommended this film few weeks ago, with no spoiling nor warning about the plot, so when I pushed Play I hadn’t the slightest clue of what I was going to face. I’m starting to enjoy watching movies in such a way, so I’m not suggested at all and don’t have any expectation created in advance.

Obviously, the title speaks for itself, yet you don’t know which angle romance issue is going to be dealt with.  

Blue Valentine takes the death of a familiar dog as the starting and exploding point. We’re talking about a young family formed by Dean (Ryan Gosling), a rockin’ guy with no ambition but to enjoy his wife and daughter working as a painter, Cindy (Michelle Williams), a gyno assistant nurse, overwhelmed and sick of her marriage, and little Frankie, a sweet kid mad in love with her dad.

In order to overcome the loss of their beloved dog, Dean insists on spending the night in one of these theme hotels as they got a voucher, so they get drunk, have some fun and forget about real life for a while, but Cindy is not up for that at all.

Tension already existing among the couple becomes evident and extreme that night, creating tough situations which bring out bitter confessions, and much reproach.  

All this declining of the relationship is parallel contrasted with memories, or let’s say, flashbacks to the beginning of their story together, highlighting even more the fall of this love story.

It’s clear to achieve a definite effect on the audience, characters are portrayed as very extreme ones, coming from broken and dysfunctional families, somehow meaning at the end of the day that story will never work. Still there are so many aspects reflected in such real way, you can feel very identified with characters, away from class or familiar roots.

…and that’s what happened to me. The fall of a relationship is always drama, when time passes by you get some perspective and when analyzing everything you arrive the conclusion things weren’t as fine as you thought.  

On the other hand is inevitable to remember good old times, and sweetest ones are just in the beginning, when everything looks fine and the other person is the most wonderful one in the world, the coolest, the righteous, the most loving…the MOST everything.

Thus, Blue Valentine is a story of both love and loss of affection, told in such a way, you really suffer, in my case for Dean, who accepts Cindy despite her faults and her past mistakes, and professes such love for her, he doesn’t aim for anything else in life. Living without her is not an option for him, so he’s constantly adapting to her mood swings, rejecting behavior and lack of sex. Or at least he tries, for he seems to have a drinking problem, probably to avoid facing their life together is a complete waste.

Rejection is an important issue in this film. I  really got shocked while I was watching it, but it wasn’t so alien to be honest. And it was painful, because while seeing it on the screen, things were coming to my mind immediately.

Changing of subject, performances are quite realistic and believable, specially Gosling is outstanding here, both in past times and in present time, and Michelle Williams  transmits such innocence and naivety in the flashbacks (something weird considering her active sex life) that the effect caused when she can’t stand her life anymore is really a blow.

Aesthetics is also remarkable in the film, blue and saturated white tones predominate, creating this atmosphere of coldness and sadness, perfect for the story. The outer space room, as the breaking point, is blue at its darkest, absolutely wonderful.

You know I’m always apologizing for not being an expert regarding filming techniques and camera work, but takes and framing, close-ups and all this stuff transmit realism to the max.  

Despite Blue Valentine is a very very sad story, it’s a great film nonetheless. I’m grateful to the person who recommended it, yet she felt bad for I was so moved she hadn’t warned me.  

Lately seems that splits are the order of the day, I find this really unfortunate, although still I don’t feel hopeless, it’s becoming a tough task to find someone to share your life for good. People get tired of each other, and companion and friendship are no longer values to give another try, and even worse in those cases when kids are involved, as in the film, bringing out situations of emotional blackmail and other crap.

Once this said, I reckon you have to be VERY in the mood to see Blue Valentine, and even you’ve been warned, depending on your personal experiences, it’ll leave you a bitter feeling afterwards, to say the least. I didn’t cry, but ended holding the blanket tight, nodding in disapproval, and thinking “shit, too many things also happened to me like this”. 

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