Friday, January 14, 2011

Where’s the Love

The state of affairs is bleak in Blue Valentine, perhaps, the bestest sad movie I have ever seen.

Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star as a young couple facing the dissolution of their six-year marriage as we, the audience, are allowed extended peeks at the early days of their once-loving relationship.

That was then and this...this is now.

Director Derek Cianfrance tells his story in non-chronological order, which only heightens the melancholy of his long-gestating project. This is the love story of Dean and Cindy, and theirs is the kind of love that has burnt bright and fast. Meant to last they were not, but meant to mean something...that they were.

Both Gosling and Williams are at the top of their game as two people so disillusioned with each other, with their relationship, there’s no denying it. Each has a longing for the other, but also a disdain that’s unmistakable. He, a house painter who doesn’t want (or need) more out of life, can’t understand why she can’t just be happy with what they have, with their family (they have a 6-year-old cute-as-a-button daughter), while, she, a nurse who still would like more (like, say, becoming the doctor she had set out to be at first), wishes he would get up and finally start living up to his potential.

They’re both flooded by those first few months when the world was their oyster, and on the fateful day we meet them, they are at a crossroads. Neither one knows it, but the events of the ensuing 24 hours or so will define their future. They will try to save their failing marriage, and they will find out some ugly truths along the way, including the fact that, sometimes, you can’t help but hurt the one you love.

Gosling and Williams’ awards-worthy portrait of the end feels, looks, and reads real.

The film was shot in sequence, from happy times to sad ones.

You can see the (d)evolution of the relationship, or help but be engrossed by it, and it’s a heartbreak of the most watchable sort...and that’s quite the incredible feat.

My Rating ****

Photo: The Weinstein Company.

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