A series of film reviews and opinion pieces from a film student and all round movie lover! Happy reading!
Where to begin on “Love”….
Jerry Seinfeld once said “Being a good husband is like being a stand-up comic You need 10 years before you can call yourself a beginner.” Derek Cianfrance’s 2010’s romantic drama “Blue Valentine” is an exhibition of what it truly is to be in love, and it isn’t pretty.
This is the story of a married couple, Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams), a pair who have experienced their fair share of ups and downs on their convoluted destiny-driven journey of love. “Blue Valentine” utilises the clever back-and-forth/cross-cutting structure in its storytelling, highlighting the extreme fluctuation between euphoria and deep vexation between two pivotal periods in their lives.
Showing the couple from before they met to their newly developed relationship juxtaposed with the present-day-pair dealing with the ‘real world’, “Blue Valentine” drives home a sense of realism and maturity about love, ironically, it’s not as easy as it looks in the movies.
Intertwining the two different periods together allows Cianfrance to show how difficult real life love is. At first, the audience get their frustratingly large dose of sappiness and lovey-dovey garbage; (the sickening ukelele serenade is enough to make any man vomit), but as the cross-cutting continues, contrast begins to play a huge part in the film’s narrative and this makes the sappiness all the more relevant.
The themes of love, change and time amalgamate to ultimately demonstrate the agony and ecstasy of love and marriage, and it works very well. It’s a very well shot film, some beautiful cinematography really drive home the tension and struggles the pair endure. The soundtrack, produced and performed by New York outfit “Grizzly Bear” is completely fitting to the mood and style of the film and is a beautiful accompaniment.
There is a lot that has been said regarding the stars’ commitment in becoming their respective characters. For example, apparently the actors were actually asleep in the scenes where they woke up, with the opening scene showing Ryan Gosling wake up (in character) from an actual bender the night before with fellow cast and crew. There is an extensive list of facts to do with the film’s subtle idiosyncrasies, and after reading this list, some extra recognition and commendation is definitely in order.
“Blue Valentine” is a contemporaneous love story that is gritty and hard hitting in several ways. Addressing various elements of love and what love does to those involved, Cianfrance’s second full-length feature is superbly crafted, shot and edited with incandescent performances. A beautifully pungent tale.
Recommended by: Fraser Cameron