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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

"Blue Valentine", dancing to the end of love

Blue Valentine
First advice: be aware of the moment (your emotional moment) when you decide to see the film, as it is going to affect you. And second advice: don't miss it, try to watch it by all means (probably won't get a release date in Spanish cinemas, that's why I say "all means", I know you have read this rant before).

Because "Blue Valentine" is devastating. Like reading Richard Yates. Like listening to "Blood on the Tracks" by Dylan, "Ultraviolet" or "Love is Blindness" by U2. Is one the of most raw and compelling dissections of the death of a relationship I ever seen. A realistic, profound and utterly sad study-character of a couple, showing us, back and forth, their relation as a complex puzzle (as every human relation is), a collection of moments and situations: the great, the good, the bad, the worse.

First, I have to praise the writing and direction of Derek Cianfrance. The premise of the film is far from being original (the superficial story could be defined even as pretty conventional), but he's capable to craft a movie that breaths, exudes honesty and its poignantly alive. A big part of it success lies in the terrific script. Measured scenes where the joy of love is condensed on a sentence, a look, a song (excellent soundtrack), or on the contrary, dialogues like sharp knifes, ready to become daggers to harm the one you once loved.   

Second, and intrinsic to the script, is the acting, which is simply exceptional. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are Dean and Cindy. I mean you are not seeing just characters evolving during a film, you are seeing flesh and blood persons crumbling in front of you, alternated with scenes when it seemed nobody/nothing can stop them from being together. It's scary (because of the topic) how well they complement each other on screen.Though I'm not surprised because I already considered both actors the best of their generation (30 and under), with "Blue Valentine" they have added one of the best performances of their careers.

Dean (Gosling) turns from a charming, romantic and careless guy to a frightened, insecure and verbally aggressive person. Cindy (Williams) evolves from a lovely, shining sweet and caring girl into a consumed, frustrated mother. Their degradation is obvious, even physically. And you can sense easily their desperation as well. We have "disordered" glimpses of their relationship: the past just before meeting, how they fell in love, and how their choices turned their happiness into the regret and misery of their present. But we don't need to know it all. Filling in the intentional holes (just a couple of times, minor regarding the story, where ellipsis might be too broad), like on good literature, is our task. That way Cianfrance direct us to a personal connection, sometimes even a recognition of ourselves in the film.What we see is far from being comfortable or pleasant (hard to remember a film where sex scenes have been so relevant and poignant for example), there's even a physical threat all around, but is sincerely human.

"Blue Valentine" is a rare, brave and fierce, brilliantly acted, masterpiece, about the most important subject: human relationships and love. Don't miss it, please.

SCORE: 9/10

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