Blue Valentine (the movie): what’s your opinion?

You don’t have to go very far to see how different people’s opinions on domestic abuse are. They range just as wildly as anything. After I’d watched Blue Valentine — the Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams (from Dawson’s Creek) film which caused such a stir when it came out in 2010 — I found myself on IMDB wanting to see what other people made of the film. Considering what I’d just taken in, parts of which horrified me no small amount, I was mildly surprised by what I found: a few people wondering what all the fuss was / is about, as if domestic abuse is something which always comes delivered in a fist and nothing else.

I don’t want to spoil the film for those people who haven’t seen it yet, but I think I can get away with saying this: Blue Valentine has a certain impact which, irrelevant of your opinion, is unmistakable. While there is no blood and very little actual violence, what does resonate powerfully is the contrast between the two time-lines which run parallel to one another throughout the entire film. As you follow the couple’s relationship in its earliest days, pre-marriage, and at the same time see the effect of certain events years later, you can’t help but experience a wave of emotions. Or at least I couldn’t. Because of this, Blue Valentine is both beautiful and nightmarish and in places wonderfully tender. In short, you really do feel as though the relatively small number of moments we the viewers get to witness provide a formula which will stay with you. After I’d turned the film off, I found that the seed began to grow, the formula expanding, allowing me to see everything in-between that the movie had alluded to.

Also impressive is Gosling and Williams’s on-screen relationship. Even in its dullest moments they are scintillatingly believable together, and the performances all-round match-up just as well.

Inhabiting a genre which is unlikely to be crowded for a long time to come — in fact, thinking in terms of genre, I struggle to think of more than 5 other films which fit neatly in — Blue Valentine could have easily been forgettable and all-too-easily brutal. Instead, and thanks to probably one of the best dramatic performances in recent years — you’ll know the scene when you see it — I can see people talking about this film in 10 or 20 years to come, and, when they do, the style the film was shot in — as if an invisible documentary maker was following the couple round at all times — will remain weirdly memorable.

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5 comments on “Blue Valentine (the movie): what’s your opinion?

  1. Lauren says:

    I love this movie. It honestly made me want to re-evaluate my own relationship. Plus, the soundtrack doesn’t hurt! It’s a true, and very realistic movie with realistic issues that I think really resonates with people.

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  2. chrispink says:

    Hey Lauren, cool of you to drop by.

    Glad you love this movie. There’s been a lot of negative feedback from some quarters, but as far as I am concerned it’s all a big misunderstanding. I think, like you, that it’s a very important and ballsy film. And yeah, the soundtrack is great. The ending surprised me in some ways, too.
    C

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  3. cecilia says:

    I really like the movie as it triggered a lot of emotions while delivering an authentic, believable plot/story. As for my opinion of what happened to the love, I wasn’t so sure that Cindy really ever loved Dean to the extreme that he loved her. Cindy found herself in a jam and Dean was conveniently available to rescue her. Although Dean was a total dbag at times, it was clear to me his adoration for her never fizzled out. I saw him take initiative to make efforts. In fact, he longed to keep the marriage afloat.
    The way the movie was made and with shortage of film making equipment made an impressive execution for me. Nicely done.

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    • chrispink says:

      I agree. I think the movie did a great job of conveying how complex people can be — Dean didn’t come across as all bad by any means, he just came across as someone struggling to handle things in the right way. Maybe this story is really about what happens when two people meet each other, and they’re just not right for one another, I don’t know.

      Thanks for dropping by and commenting, all the best,

      Chris

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  4. […] it well, and with commitment. Want a twist on romance, with an added bite? Then you need to watch Blue Valentine. Unless your relationship exists as part of the deeply unfortunate 2% that are in serious […]

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