Romance: blue; filmmaking: golden
Boy meets girl. They fall in love, overcome obstacles and live happily ever after. But that’s not always the end of the story. In Blue Valentine, Gosling and Williams are a couple struggling to save their marriage while flashbacks of their first months in love contrast with scenes of their current life – fights, frustration and failure.
The two leads are painfully intense, their eyes nakedly mirroring the love they have lost. It makes you want to look away, and yet you can’t help but keep watching. A disintegration shown raw and naked: the two young and shy in the beginning and then some years older with every flaw and vice exposed, the romance gone and life’s daily mini-fights the center of their relationship.
The filming is candid; Cianfrance does not hide either actors’ ugly and vulnerable side, resulting in a film that comes as close to reality as if the couple had been shooting their life with an amateur camera. Among the many reasons to see Blue Valentine are first and foremost Gosling and Williams. It’s not a joyful ride, but it’s filmmaking – and acting – at its best.
BLUE VALENTINE | Directed by Derek Cianfrance (USA 2010) with Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams. Opens August 4