Review: BLUE VALENTINE (2010) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Review: BLUE VALENTINE (2010)

RATING: 2.5/5

Derek Cianfrance's romance drama BLUE VALENTINE first gained headline for its notorious NC-17 rating due to the movie's explicit sexual material, in which the studio (Weinstein Company) has aggressively appealed to the MPAA to cut the rating down to R instead. It's certainly a controversial movie, especially with recognizable faces by the likes of Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams involved, but really, it's nothing more explicit than an emotional downer that is particularly depressing.

At the heart of the movie, is a story about the estranged relationship between Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams). The movie jumps back and forth in time, in which, we first learn that Dean and Cindy are two young married couple who has a lovely daughter named Frankie (Faith Wladyka). Their relationship is particularly rocky at the moment, especially with Dean has become a slacker these days. He drinks a lot, he smokes a lot and most of all, he has lost his ambition to strive for bigger potential ever since he is settled as a family man. In the meantime, Cindy has been constantly stressful in her workplace as a physician's assistant. If that's not enough, their dog has been missing from their backyard for quite some time. It gets worse from there when Cindy discovers their dog's dead body lying alongside the road. Dean suggests they need to take their time off against everything and spends quality time just the two of them alone in a outer-space-themed hotel called "The Future Room", in hopes to rekindle their lost love while their daughter is placed under care by her grandpa. From there, we starts to learn traces of flashback of how Dean's younger days as a mover first falling in love at first sight with Cindy when she is still studying in a college. Although they subsequently fall for each other, things doesn't go particularly smooth especially all the conflict involving Cindy's jealous ex-boyfriend Bobby (Mike Vogel). Worst still, Cindy also discovers she is pregnant with Bobby's child but Dean is willing to take responsibility and finally decides for both of them to start a family together.

Movies about a broken marriage is nothing new at all, and not surprisingly, the story here is as predictable as it goes. Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis and Cami Delavigne's screenplay almost screams something like out of a LIfetime Channel but at least they manage to write something that are both brutally honest and emotionally penetrating. As for its unflinching portrayal of sex, the particular subject material is raw and graphic but nothing really explicit as one might lead to suggest in the first place.

Still above all, this movie remains a true acting showcase for both talented young performers of Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Both of them certainly deserved award-worthy recognition with their superb, yet well-calculated performances. Indeed they shared excellent chemistry together as their characters feel real and perfectly restrained without resorting into Hollywood onscreen couples-type cliches.

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