Blue Valentine (2010)

Blue Valentine (2010) — This movie will crush your soul. That’s not a negative criticism but still… be warned. The movie is about a couple at the beginning and end of their relationship. We see the beginning of the end first before flashing back to te beginning.  The two alternate from there on out.  The couple is played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, both previous Academy Award nominees (and since I saw this last week, Williams is nominated again). Dean is a somewhat aimless but reasonably charming guy. Cindy is a medical student who is unhappy in her relationship with her asshole boyfriend (Mike Vogel). We get enough information about both, especially through their early interactions with each other. We see how good they are together which makes the other half of the movie all the more devastating. Five years later, they’re married and have a daughter. Dean is a painter (like houses, not art) and Cindy is a nurse. Dean says he’s happy with their family but Cindy’s deeply unhappy. All the meet-cute stuff from the scenes set earlier is gone. Gosling and Williams both gained enough weight so that neither are particularly fat or out of shape, but they lose that youthful looks. The film has gotten a lot of attention for its explicit sex scenes, narrowly avoiding the box-office-killing NC-17 rating. The sex scenes are anything but gratuitous. They run from playful and romantic to sad and just pathetic, illustrating what stage the relationship is at. It’s hard to recommend a movie that will destroy your belief in romance, but Blue Valentine is an artfully well-done movie that’s worth the hour or so of post-viewing depression.

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