Feature

Blue Valentine

Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling deliver “magnificent” performances in this portrait of a once-magical marriage that turns sour.

Directed by Derek Cianfrance(R)

****

Blue Valentine is “adult entertainment as it should be,” said Anthony Lane in The New Yorker. An emotionally honest love story that “doesn’t shy away from sex” or its consequences, it also dramatizes a painful truth our teenagers shouldn’t know: that “the first heady bloom” of even true love is eventually “doomed to rot and fall.” In Derek Cianfrance’s directorial debut, Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling deliver “magnificent” performances as Cindy and Dean, a working-class couple whose marriage is slowly and painfully coming to an end, said Joe Morgenstern in The Wall Street Journal. Nothing out of the ordinary happens—a practical woman and a child-like man grow apart—but it is “crushing” to watch how two people whose love never vanishes nevertheless “come to lacerate and eventually devastate each other.” Throughout the film, Cianfrance “cuts back and forth between the agonizing finale and the dreamy romantic beginning—to devastating emotional effect,” said Nathan Rabin in the A.V. Club. This is no melodrama. Blue Valentine “has the sting and sadness of real life.”

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