For months now I’ve been waiting to see Blue Valentine. It’s been in the works for years now, Ryan Gosling and director Derek Cianfrance have been creating Gosling’s character for a long time, ever since 2006. The film was set to shoot with Michelle Williams in 2008, but got delayed due to Heath Ledger‘s death. They thought about replacing Williams with an another actress, but now having seen the film, I can see why that was never a real option for them.
Blue Valentine is about it’s characters. Characters that are the most layered, researched and immersed into that I’ve seen in a really long time. You can see how the cast and crew collaborated in creating a story that’s genuine and realistic, without being preachy or underwhelming. In it’s simplicity, Blue Valentine tells a story about a couple falling in and out of love, and how their romantic past echoes in their desperate future. The film is pretty much a story of a really bad day in Dean’s (Gosling) and Cindy’s (Williams) life, but through flashbacks we see their story arch, varying between highs and lows, lust and hate. Gosling said in a recent interview that domesticity kills love, and that really pinpoints what the film is trying to say. You hate the characters, Dean is a drunk and deadbeat, and Cindy’s bitter and emotionally just not there. You see them being this people that they have become, but contrasted with their flashback’s hopefulness, idealism, commitment, risk, romance and discovery. This collaborative effort to bring the audience something real without happy endings and with two different beliefsystems; Dean’s idealistic and romantic hope and sacrifice, Cindy’s introvert, closed disappointment and free spirit.
I loved the way they interacted with eachother (in an interview Williams said that during shooting she and Gosling didn’t socialize with eachother, to keep the authenticity between the characters on camera) and the people surrounding them, especially their daughter. Most important of all, you believe it all; the best films come together in believing what you see and feeling the impact of it. For a while you live with this couple and you feel their hardship and want to be inside the romance. Blue Valentine is at the same time uplifting and depressing, which for obvious reasons is very uncommon for a film less than two hours long.
Gosling and Williams both give probably the best performances of their careers, and have already gotten Golden Globe nods. I wouldn’t be surprised if one, maybe both of them would continue on that streak come Oscar nominations; it wouldn’t be the first time for either of them. Two of the most promising actors of their generation, who will probably be acting-veterans in 10 years.
Gosling’s coming out with three films this year: Crazy, Stupid, Love. a comedy with the hilarious Steve Carrell and newcomer Emma Stone; Drive a heist-film with Carey Mulligan, Ron Perlman, Bryan Cranston and Christina Hendricks and the very promising looking, Clooney’s new baby, The Ides Of March a political drama with an Oscar-worthy cast (Clooney, Tomei, Hoffman, Giamatti). Williams’ is stepping out as the most iconic female actress ever, Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn. All of these are absolute must-sees for 2011.
10 / 10
You will like Blue Valentine if…
– you loved Once by John Carney.
– the trailer (below) makes you smile.
– you’re a romantic at heart.