3 February 2014

What I Watched: Blue Valentine

Image source

Blue Valentine has been in my DVD collection for over three years but I only got round to watching it last weekend and I'm so glad I did. I could kick myself for leaving it so long to watch it; it's definitely one of the best films I have ever seen and I wish I had experienced it sooner.

The film stars Ryan Gosling  and Michelle Williams (rightly nominated for a Best Actress Oscar) as Dean and Cindy, a married couple with a young daughter, and focuses on the dissolution of their relationship over a tumultuous few days. At first look it seems like a standard drama about the end of a relationship, but the disintegration of their marriage is intercut with scenes from the beginning of their relationship which adds an extra dimension to the film.

The way Blue Valentine is shot makes it so spectacular to watch. Tiny, subtle moments are captured but not overdone, leaving you to make of each action what you want. It doesn't spell out the fact that this couple are falling apart, but the insinuations run deep through the very heart of every scene.
However, the use of footage from the beginning of Dean and Cindy's relationship is what makes it really heartbreaking. The juxtaposition between the palpable happiness and love the two share when they first meet and the awkward interactions they share in the present day is astonishing. It was actually painful at times to watch the two clumsily interact with each other in the present and the way director Derek Cianfrance captured the discomfort between the couple was amazing.

The subtle style of the film and its amazing performances were what made it stand out so much. There was no huge, dramatic plot twist to drive the action, just a quiet insight into a relationship that had just stopped. Rather than overblown, sentimental scenes that you can tell were aiming to make you cry, Blue Valentine is so natural and realistic. Its strength lies in its central performances, with both Gosling and Williams on top form, and the chemistry between the two makes it so convincing as well. It's a completely believable, natural film that I couldn't fault at all.

The atmosphere of the film is definitely one of heartbreak. The whole way through, I could feel sadness creeping up on me and,10 minutes before the end, one of the flashback scenes affected me so profoundly that I had to pause the film and cry for a very long time. I was utterly devastated by the entire film and the vein of sadness stuck with me long after the credits rolled.

I'm so glad i finally watched Blue Valentine and I'd recommend it to anyone. It is full of sadness at times and I personally found it so heartbreaking that when I tried to talk about it afterwards I cried all over again, but the performances are incredible, the atmosphere and cinematography is beautiful and the use of music, particularly You and Me by Penny & the Quarters, adds so much depth and emotion to the film. It's a truly excellent film and it's definitely become one of my favourites already.

Have you seen Blue Valentine? What other sad films can you recommend for me?

1 comment:

  1. Oh gosh, this sounds so good but I'm not sure I could put myself through it. It's on my list for one of those days where I just need to have a really good cry! hehe

    Jennie xo | sailorjennie.com