Monday night’s RBC Film Club showing of the critically acclaimed Blue Valentine (2010) is an interesting independent drama. This romantic/relationship story involves the gradual disintegration of marriage between Cindy, a medical student who desperately wants to be a Doctor and Dean, a removal operative from Brooklyn. Their doomed relationship starts when they agree to marry following Cindy’s pregnancy. The film uses flashbacks and intersecting narratives over a seven-year period, which is quite confusing especially at the beginning of the film even though Jean-Luc Godard once commented that a film should have a beginning, middle and an end but not necessarily in that order. Best scene comes at the start of their relationship where Cindy does an impromptu dance in a shop doorway at night as Dean plays the ukulele and sings the Ink Spots classic “You always Hurt the One You Love” bringing a lump to this old romantic’s throat! It’s basically a sad story of love turning sour between two well-intentioned young people. Dean ends up drinking too much and Cindy’s ambitions gradually disintegrate.
This is Derek Cianfrance second feature film, an American director and writer best known for TV documentary work and stars Ryan Gosling (Half Nelson 2006, Lars and the Real Girl 2007) as Dean Perira and Michelle Williams (The Station Agent 2003, Brokeback Mountain 2005, I’m Not There 2007, Shutter Island 2010) as Cindy Heller. Williams is set the play Marilyn Munroe in the upcoming British drama My Week with Marilyn. The heart of the film is the soundtrack composed by Grizzly Bear a Brooklyn based folk rock band with the actors allowed to pick some of their own music including one of the films feature songs You and Me by Penny and the Quarters a rather obscure track that makes it a good reason to buy the soundtrack! This movie has some great acting from the leads but your find that it’s impossible to empathise with either of the characters. I really wanted to like this film but strangely I’m not sure I did, perhaps another viewing would help?