Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A brief movie review: Blue Valentine (2010)

Blue Valentine (2010)
Director - Derek Cianfrance
112 Min; R
Dean - Ryan Gosling
Cindy - Michelle Williams

Oscar nominations were announced today and making the list of nominees is Michelle Williams for her work as Cindy in the film Blue Valentine, in which she plays a woman as seen through different periods in her life, but absent from the list is a nomination for Ryan Gosling, who plays her partner through the years in this film centered around a relationship from concept to completion. Let me state simply that I agree 100% with the Williams nod and the Gosling omission, if only because Michelle Williams always feels so authentic to me in everything she does (See Wendy and Lucy if you have not already done so) whereas Gosling just has the feel of an actor (a good actor) doing his job. The difference is subtle, but substantial, and I find Williams in well on her way as the defining actress of our generation.

The film itself does not require much from me for you to understand the premise - think about a couple, any couple, who falls in love and then has ups and downs in the relationship and you can pretty much apply that to this film. What makes this better than a story you've heard before is the performance by Williams, someone who genuinely portrays such emotional highs and lows that we never for one second remember she is not just a normal girl.

The film does not cross any incredible barriers for me in terms of content, but I liked the grainy style and shaky camera movements when used with purpose. The third act suffers a bit from not knowing exactly what message it wants to leave the viewer with, and I will say the ending did not leave me satisfied, though I also sort of knew that I would not be satisfied by any ending.

This is a solid film with very good performances, but it does no transcend.

**** out of 5

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