Blue Valentine or Just. Leave. Me. Alone.

Blue Valentine or Just. Leave. Me. Alone.

Blue Valentine photo


How do we accept the misery of the mundane with the knowledge that everyday we grow more and more attached to it? Co-written and directed by Derek Cianfrance, Blue Valentine provokes this question throughout. You may find yourself waiting for the tragedy.  Oh!  He”™s about to get hit by a car or No!  She”™s going to die!

Review by Lucy Griffin

Then I realized I was waiting for nothing.  It was there all along.  The tragedy is life.

Filled with painful moments, you find yourself forcing your mind into automatic denial, mentally asserting “I have and will never be there in my relationship!” Yet at some point, and with some one, we all have.  Unwillingly.

The tragedy is the everyday existence where each time we breathe we get closer to death (shown beautifully by Jen Jones as Gramma and Melvin Jurdem as the Old Man.)  Each day is filled with the repetitive problems our past hands to us. The film seeks the sadness out of every crevice and lays it on the dinner table or in this movie’s case, the bedroom. You might find yourself not crying out of misery but perhaps at the vulnerability shown in just the everyday actions of brushing one”™s teeth.

Blue Valentine - Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling

Although, every once in a while tragedy is blessed by creation.  Michelle Williams evokes a glowing beauty and is far more than impressive in Blue Valentine just playing the harshness of reality.  It seems almost easier to portray a character of the demented nature (see Portman in Black Swan) where you know you have to reach a certain level of darkness or “˜crazy.”™ But when given the task to act the authenticity of life and relationships, it seems the most difficult one an actor can take on (especially after the real life loss of her child”™s father).  Williams”™ performance reminded me of a beautiful line from Woody Allen”™s, Hannah and her Sisters,  “How can you act when there”™s nothing inside to come out?”Â Clearly Williams had a lot to purge and it”™s both divine and devastating to watch.

Ryan Gosling is his usual charming self, although the later years of his performance portray an annoying man-child who drinks too much and makes messes of the unnecessary.

Blue Valentine is not necessarily enjoyable, but unavoidably effective. It”™s a passion piece with some serious intention that doles out a dismal ending, although not without hope, thus perhaps presenting the darkest idea of the film.  What are you hoping for really?  A rekindling of a relationship deeply troubled by its roots and withered from the routine of falling out of a passionate love?

Blue Valentine is back-of-the-hand brutal, a powerful smack that shocks and yet you know it well… like the back of your hand.

This review was first published on Getacluesy

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.

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