Keeva Stratton,Â Quip Creative
Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Starring: Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams
Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) are now six years into their marriage, and are making a last ditch attempt to save what has clearly gone stale. They\’ve grown older, have tedious jobs, are experiencing the sacrifices that are a part of becoming young parents, and have lost the verve for life and each other that they once possessed.
The story is told through a series of flashbacks that begin from the early months of their relationship, which are then interspersed with the narrative of the current 24 hours, six years later. Present-day Dean decides that they should get out of town and promptly books them into a night in a themed hotel. Inside the aptly titled â€˜Future Room\’, it is the absence of a future that becomes glaringly obvious. This alone would be palatable from an emotional distance, but as we, the viewers, are introduced to the young, excited and vital teenage versions of Derek and Cindy, their empty, modern day incarnations only serve to highlight the exceptional sadness of their slow implosion as people and as a couple.
The story is a juxtaposition of the feverish beginnings of teenage romance and the implacable fizzle at the realities of marriage, parenthood and life’s responsibilities. It is beautifully acted and poetically rendered. No doubt many who see Blue Valentine will find one or two of their own youthful moments reaching out from the screen. The music is also well selected, adding to the nostalgic overtones and in many ways telling the story through their life soundtrack.
Director Derek Cianfrance has worked long and hard to create a film that reflects both the reality and inevitability of fading love. Michelle Williams seems to be more impressive with every role she takes on, and as Cindy she has again demonstrated how multi-faceted she is as a performer.
Overall though, this is a film of mood and contemplation. In part it is a brilliant depiction of youth, love and life, but it is also an equally tragic reflection on the real struggles that are imbued with living an imperfect life. Blue Valentine offers generous servings of melancholy, so be prepared. It is without doubt one of the highlights of the summer cinema season, but it is a tad depressing, so you may want to see this one buttressed with your uplifting friends.
Blue Valentine will be released on December 27.
Category: Film & TV