Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blue Valentine

Expectations can be a funny thing. See, I went into Blue Valentine expecting to fall in love with it. And that's a high bar to set.

I also went in knowing that it was the juxtaposition of two people falling in and out of love. I don't really know how else to talk about the reason I didn't fall in love with this movie than talking about how that isn't 100% true, so.... thar be spoilers ahead.

I think had it really been simply a story of how two people who fell so incredibly in love could, years later, fall completely out of love, that would have been really interesting and I might have loved it more. But the start of the story isn't the start of a beautiful, epic romance. She gets knocked up. With another man's kid. And Ryan Gosling decides to be the good guy and step in and marry her.

If that doesn't have flashing red lights all around it, going; 'this is completely and totally the wrong reason to marry someone,' I don't know what would. So it isn't, to me, much of a mystery about how these kids could end up on the brink of divorce. Of course it doesn't work. It's the logical conclusion to that story.

The thing is, lots of people do fall in and, later, out of love, and I think I wanted to see a story more about that. That was what I had expected going in.

Now, I will say that I think they both deserve acting kudos; both Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams give very vulnerable, nuanced performances.

The writing also felt really honest. Uncomfortably so. I think that's the other reason it's hard to love this film; watching people break apart is awful. They both make bad decisions. They both say the wrong thing. The relationship falling apart isn't really anyone's fault - it's just two people stuck in a cycle of being angry and hurt. And that's incredibly difficult to watch.

So; it's well done. I'm glad I saw it. It has some of my favorite end credits I've ever seen. The acting is great. Just... be kinder to each other, people.

4/5 stars.

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