Friday, January 14, 2011

Blue Valentine

Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling star in this emotional drama about a couple falling in and out of love.  The film switches back and forth between present day, when the couple is struggling to keep their relationship afloat, and flashbacks of happier times when they first met.

This isn’t new ground, and very similar films have been made before.  (‘Revolutionary Road’ comes to mind, but ‘Blue Valentine’ is much more real.  But there’s also a great film no one saw from 2009 called ‘Peter and Vandy’ with virtually the same story and technique.)  But let’s face it, there’s nothing new under the sun, and sometimes it just comes down to how real and engaging the characters are.  And in this case, they’re very real and very engaging.  I’ve always been a bit skeptical about Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as actors, but I shouldn’t be because they consistently surprise me.  And they definitely nailed these characters.  The arguments felt so real that it was like I was spying on a real couple in the privacy of their home.  And that was uncomfortable at times.  But I think making the audience uncomfortable is what the film is trying to do.

When I saw the film it was rated NC-17 due to some explicit sexual scenes, but there was a lot of talk of cutting it down to meet an R rating.  (Of course, if a film has extreme violence, it can still easily secure an R, but include one somewhat graphic sex scene and the MPAA slaps it with an NC-17.  Ridiculous.)

Some couples may be hesitant to watch this.  And certainly if they do see it, there will be some uncomfortable discussion afterwards.  But I found it to be very fulfilling and very well done, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Gosling and Williams end up getting some award nominations.

Grade:  A

4 comments:

  1. I agree on Michelle Williams, it's hard to divorce her from her role on Dawson's Creek, but she really gets it done. She's great is almost everything, especially Wendy and Lucy.

    As for Ryan Gosling, he sold his part in Lars and The Real Girl, which was just an insane part to try and play. To me the best performances are when actors are able to pull off characters that should be completely ridiculous. Jennifer Jason Leigh in Hudsucker Proxy, her character should have killed that movie, but JJL ended up knocking it out of the park. Or Mary Steenberger in Elf. I'm kind of rambling.

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  2. You already know how I feel about Ryan. I've heard awesome things about this movie. I may actually try to see this one in theaters...

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  3. Well put CK. But I also need to give Gosling praise for 'Half Nelson' and 'The Notebook', two roles/films that could have been a bore, but Gosling made them exceptional. And yes, Taralyn, I know how you feel about him. You'll definitely love this movie. A- may have been too low. It may very well be a solid A.

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  4. You're absolutely right - the MPAA rating system is completely ridiculous. Movie sounds good. Too bad David would never watch a movie about relationships. Or maybe it's for the best - who needs uncomfortable discussions?? Frankly, I could do with a fewer uncomfortable discussions in life.....

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