Top 100 Films Of The 2010’s – #73 – Blue Valentine (2010)


RELEASED: 14th January 2011

DIRECTOR: Derek Cianfrance

CAST: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Faith Wladyka, John Doman, Mike Vogel and Ben Shenkman

BUDGET: $1m

BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $12.3m

AWARDS: None (1 Academy Award nomination and 2 Golden Globe nominations)

The relationship of a contemporary married couple, charting their evolution over a span of years by cross-cutting between time periods.

 

Blue Valentine focuses on the story of Dean and Cindy, a couple who have been together for several years but who are at an impasse in their relationship.

 

Derek Cianfrance exploded onto the scene in 2010 with the drama film Blue Valentine, telling the story of Dean and Cindy, a couple that fell in love and now their love story has reached breaking point. Blue Valentine is a brutally emotional film that has it firmly placed on two film lists: Worst first date film to watch and worst post-breakup film to watch. The film is structured between two time frames, showing us the present of how Cindy has just fallen out of love with Dean, who she believes should be doing better with his potential rather than painting people’s houses, while for Dean, this is it, be a good husband and father, that’s the dream now. Unfortunately, where films show the beginning of the fairytale romance and never see the conclusion, we are firmly right in the conclusion of how that love no longer exists, people are mentally and emotionally spent to the point that there’s nothing left to give, which is constructed very well in the screenplay from Cami Delavigne, Joey Curtis and Derek Cianfrance. We do get to see how once upon a time there was love there between the two, particularly in a scene where Dean sings and plays guitar whilst Cindy dances on the streets, which makes the inevitable conclusion all the more painful. But Cindy has grown older, has experienced more opportunities and options whilst Dean, in terms of his character, has remained the same and feels content in that mould while he shows lack of notably towards her growth or knows it but won’t accept it. Michelle Williams is terrific as Cindy, as is Ryan Gosling as Dean, with the two playing off each other perfectly in scenes of them showing affection as well as the scenes involving them being in heated arguments. I remember originally when this film was out that people started picking sides as to who was right and who was wrong in the failure of their marriage. The point of the film, and how its explored, is that there is no right or wrong, unfortunately fallen out of love is just as common as fallen in love.

 

FAVOURITE SCENE: When Dean and Cindy are at a motel and when they’re about to have sex and Dean mentions about having a baby….what follows is just sad to watch.

FAVOURITE QUOTE: “I like how you can compliment and insult somebody at the same time, in equal measure.” – Cindy Heller

DID YOU KNOW: When filming the argument scenes, director Derek Cianfrance gave instructions to Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling individually, without the knowledge of the other, in order to create more tension between Dean and Cindy. For Williams, Cianfrance would instruct her to try to leave the room, use any way to break out of the argument with Gosling, etc. For Gosling, Cianfrance would tell him to use any means to persuade, get Williams attention, etc. Gosling stated it was a new and interesting process as it became a tug game on set.

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