Derek Cianfrance’s 2010 film stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams (Academy Award nominated for her performance) as Dean and Cindy, two people in a damaged marriage who reflect on how they met and the great times that they had in the early days of their relationship, before the cracks started to appear.

The best part of this film is definitely the two central performances; Gosling and Williams are both perfect, both as the young, (virtually) carefree romantics and the older, troubled and more jaded married couple. Improvising much of their dialogue, they clearly have great chemistry and they never falter in holding our attention and support. Plus, it’s fun watching Williams tap dance while Gosling plays the ukulele and “sings goofy”. The supporting cast is also excellent.

The story of Blue Valentine is straightforward as it focuses primarily on the contemporary, realistic relationship. Still, the narrative is interesting and the film successfully jumps between the two time periods, allowing us to piece together the puzzle and realise how exactly this relationship fell apart.

Andrij Parekh’s cinematography is also noteworthy; colour is used to great effect and there is a noticeable change in visual style as the film alternates between the past and present – flashbacks appear brighter and with warmer colours as the troubled present is clearly more drab and grey. All of this succeeds in making the film very engaging.

With two perfect performances at the heart, Blue Valentine is an excellent film about a damaged relationship, reflecting on young love.

★ ★ ★ ★

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