Monday, October 10, 2011

Blue Valentine

By s. Monday, October 10, 2011 , , , , , ,
(112 min, 2010)
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Writers: Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams and John Doman

Is this love?

“I feel like men are more romantic than women. When we get married we marry, like, one girl, 'cause we're resistant the whole way until we meet one girl and we think I'd be an idiot if I didn't marry this girl she's so great. But it seems like girls get to a place where they just kinda pick the best option... 'Oh he's got a good job.' I mean they spend their whole life looking for Prince Charming and then they marry the guy who's got a good job and is gonna stick around.”

“Blue Valentine” is a hard movie to watch because it treats love as it probably is in reality – as something very unsure, difficult and elusive. Unfortunately, despite the great subject matter and fantastic performances the film itself is boring and for most of it we ask ourselves “why should we care?”. We watch these two people, we see their interactions, but the film lacks heart and the story of love
Dean is a simple guy, without decent job, without plans and education. But he is a good person and helpless romantic. One day he sees Cindy and he falls in love with her, without even knowing her. He thinks she is the one for him and he wants to spend his life with her. Cindy wants to be a doctor, she changes boys as gloves, although she takes care her of grandmother, showing which is obviously useless attempt for the audience to get to care about her, she doesn't really get attached to guys, having seen the bitterness and hatred between her parents. Could there be two more different people?

Dean tries to flirt with Cindy but she is playing hard to get, but finally she caves in. She treats Dean as others - she sleeps with, like countless before him. But one event forces her to settle and marry him - Dean, who so kindly offered her to spend their lives together with all probability rescued her. We are led to believe by summaries and trailers that this movie talks about love. But I don't think Cindy ever loved Dean. She is an opportunist and lost by her own stupid choices she marries him, because that is the option that is best for her at the time. I found it really hard not to hate her character, she's not a bad person – she is however extremely weak. That must have been the first time I disliked character played by lovely Michelle Williams so strongly. I even preferred her Dolores in “Shutter Island”. At least her actions could have been explained by insanity, here she is just despicable.

Dean is not perfect by any means – he is, I'm gonna write it without unnecessary subtlety, a loser. He doesn't have any ambitions, he drinks way too much and he naively thinks that things are just going to work out. But he is noble at heart and it's difficult not to admire him when he does something so incredible for Cindy. He wants to be a husband and a father and he does his job with as much love as he has, which cannot be said about Cindy. Those two jumped into marriage without truly connecting or being fascinated by each other. They didn't think it through and after years spent together they are paying bitter price for it.
The movie is the most painful when it shows how deeply unhappy Cindy is. But it fails at making us care about the movie itself and the characters because of the way the screenwriter decided to tell this story. We see the beginning and the end of “love”, but it's the middle that's more important. How this people went from A to B – we will never know. The movie tries to be effective but it leaves its audience empty. At first Cindy is fond of Dean and then she detests him. Why? What happened? Polar opposites do not work without justification. Of course it's a well known truth that marriage requires work for the couple to stay happy, but why didn't the characters even try? We can assume Dean did, but Cindy? Because of this lack of information we care even less about her – was she just cynical and completely lacked feelings for Dean? I think so.

“Blue Valentine” is extremely pessimistic – it strips love of all its glory and replaces it with awkward and unnecessarily long sex scenes, as if they wanted to suggest relationships are mostly about physicality – at least the one of Dean and Cindy was, with all certainty, instead of talking in order to resolve their issues and finally get to know each other, they just - and there truly is no other word for it - fuck. The film pairs a group of very strange people together and although Gosling and Williams try their best the script never gives them an opportunity to show true heat and passion that once connected Dean and Cindy, nor the opportunity for us to connect with them. The film portrays bitterness of bored and suffocating wife beautifully, but it fails to portray love story I imagine the director wanted to show. I've been in relationships that began as the one showed in the movie, but I knew right away that something of that kind is meant to end. I couldn't relate to characters at all because I can't understand why Cindy decided to commit to someone she obviously couldn't picture spending life with.
This movie is not portrayal of love – it's a portrayal of stupidity. Cindy sleeps with whoever wants to sleep with her, without even taking necessary precautions (and for the love of Christ, she wants to be a doctor?). Dean thinks everything will work without decent education, apartment, plans and skills. In a way those two really deserved each other, but what tore them apart was that they all wanted something else – Dean wanted things the way they were and Cindy wanted everything to change.

The only thing that is worth admiring in this movie is Ryan Gosling, who delivers astonishingly good performance in otherwise very average film.


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