Film Review: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams Are Heartbreakingly Real in ‘Blue Valentine’

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Rating: 5.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Derek Cianfrance’s “Blue Valentine,” my pick last month for the 9th best film of 2010, is a devastatingly genuine representation of the first and final chapters of a marriage. It is a powerful drama, partially made so by a fantastic script, but mostly due to two of the best performances of the year from Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Don’t miss it.

The intent of “Blue Valentine” is not to make any broad or grand statements about the institution of marriage (even if it does portray the often-ignored fact that many young people end up betrothed more through circumstance than romance) but to present a slice of life, the kind of character study that Hollywood doesn’t make that often any more possibly because there aren’t that many actors as talented as Gosling and Williams who can pull it off.

StarRead Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Blue Valentine” in our reviews section.

Giving what I consider the best actor performance of the year (for more, check out this feature, where you’ll find copious praise for his co-star as well), Ryan Gosling stars as Dean, a likable but unfocused guy. We all know or have known someone like Dean. He’s not quite ambitious enough to make it out of his rut in life but he’s a good father and he truly does love his wife. The problem is that he also loves the freedom to drink in the morning that his blue-collar life affords him.

Actually, it’s not really fair to call an 8am beer “the problem” because perhaps the most remarkable thing about Cianfrance’s script is that it doesn’t hang its marital woes on a typically clichéd event or condition. It’s not about an alcoholic or a cheater or an unsupportive spouse – it is more about that steady, numbing decline that faces many couples, especially those who get married far too young.

StarContinue reading for Brian Tallerico’s full “Blue Valentine” review.

‘Blue Valentine’ stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. It was written by Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis, & Cami Delavigne and directed by Cianfrance. It opens in Chicgao on January 7th, 2011. It is rated R.

Blue Valentine
Blue Valentine
Photo credit: The Weinstein Company

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