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Blue Valentine

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on: December 09, 2010, 10:36:29 AM

Trailer here.

Release Date: December 31st, 2010 (limited)
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, John Doman, Mike Vogel, Maryann Plunkett
Directed by: Derek Cianfrance 

Premise: The story of love found and love lost told in past and present moments in time. Flooded with romantic memories of their courtship, Dean and Cindy use one night to try and save their failing marriage.
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Reply #1 on: December 09, 2010, 11:24:48 AM
Now that is exactly what I want from trailers: a sense of mood, theme and tone with as few narrative specifics as possible. Yet it also manages to give you an extended portion of a single scene too, providing you with an idea of direction and performance styles without it seeming arbitrary. So I now know that I want to see this film, whilst still knowing very little concrete about it - mission accomplished.
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Reply #2 on: December 09, 2010, 01:12:58 PM
Someone loves The Jerk.


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Reply #3 on: December 09, 2010, 10:34:41 PM
It got the R-rating yesterday, which is great news.  It had been initially rated NC-17 for no good reason.

The film is pretty darned good, but I wished that it had been longer.  Probably because it reminded me of Scenes from a Marriage, which works brilliantly at 5 or so hours.  This film also features the most effective use of a non-linear structure that I've seen in a while.


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Reply #4 on: December 15, 2010, 08:06:15 PM
from my blog:

The last film from my Sundance picks to be released this year, Blue Valentine is also one of the year’s best.  The film stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams as a couple at the beginning and end of their relationship.  There are two timelines in the film, 6 years apart, and the film cuts back and forth between these moments creating a heartbreaking contrast between the two.  At a certain point I found myself really loving the movie and then as the film passed the halfway mark it grew darker and made me wish I could just see the half where they’re falling in love.  Even though I know that the contrast is what makes the film work.

My main nitpicks with the film are the scenes 6 years later, which are almost too bleak.  Gosling’s physical appearance, (heavier and balding) is a bit extreme considering it’s only 6 years later, not 15.  Despite the director spending over a decade with the script, the film is 50% improvised because he wanted to capture these “real” moments.  And Blue Valentine is full of them, along with two great performances and a soundtrack by Grizzly Bear.  It’s a film for romantics, even those that have been through the worst.  Watch the trailer if you haven’t already.

Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


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Reply #5 on: January 03, 2011, 01:59:02 PM
9. blue valentine
ryan gosling and michelle williams are, indeed, incredible.  it's a bit too purple at times and despite the quality of the performances, the dialogue can feel overwritten, but it's very resonant and very wrenching.

It's funny you say the dialogue can seem overwritten because the writer/director rewrote the script for a decade but essentially let the actors throw it out every day at work so it could feel fresh.  I noticed something not sitting quite right during some scenes as well but I just felt like I could FEEL the improvising going on and Gosling was clearly more dominant than Williams.  Granted this could be chalked up to being their characters but I was occasionally momentarily taken out of the movie.  I still liked it a lot though.
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


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Reply #6 on: January 04, 2011, 05:49:58 AM
yea i've had a lot of people come back at my overwritten claim with the fact that the film was largely improvised.  that's pretty obvious, but all that matters is what's on screen and i can't think of a device i wasn't completely aware of throughout the whole thing.  like you said there are moments where something feels off kilter, be it awkward wording or that the arc of the scene is so blatant from the beginning that watching it play out feels redundant.  i guess i should also add to my claim in that more than the dialogue, the plotting of the film is pretty deliberate in a way that works against the rawness of the improvisation and stuck out to me as being very "written" in a negative way.  i'm nitpicking here, mostly because i went into it with friends telling me it was the best film of the year etc. and i didn't think it was quite that... which isn't to say i was being especially critical to be contrary.  anyway, it is really good.  i liked it a lot as well.

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Reply #7 on: January 15, 2011, 01:53:19 AM
(probably spoilers even though it's a hard movie to spoil)

strange movie because while every scene is great and all the acting is top notch, it's still kind of slight and more of a sketch than anything. we're only shown the first ~6-7 months and last 2-3 days of the relationship. assuming the film covers six years, why aren't we shown anything that happens during the middle 90% of their marriage?

i guess i can argue against myself by saying that the characters are obviously more infatuated with each other rather than really in love. the beginning of their relationship is cute with gosling putting on the charm to get williams and all, but they're never shown to have much common interest other than wanting to fuck so it was doomed to begin with since they never should've had more than a 6-7 month relationship in the fist place. the interaction that i'm remembering most is between gosling and his coworker when gosling's talking about love at first sight, "ya know, i saw this girl and it was like i knew her. i don't know her, but it feels like i do," and the coworker replies, "but you don't." and he never gets to know her, even after being married to her for 6 years.

probably sounds like i'm shitting on the movie but there's definitely more to it that i liked than i didn't. gosling's character is drawn perfectly in its self-obsession and self-satisfaction. williams makes something heartbreaking out of an underdeveloped character. the scenes from the beginning of the relationship are touching and you root for them while the scenes of their last couple days are spot on in their portrayal of a couple at their breaking point, capturing that feeling of "i love you but i can't fucking stand you" perfectly.

so: what's there is great, i just wish there was (a lot) more of it.


i'd like to know what people who aren't fans of grizzly bear think of the score. i love them so it was sort of distracting hearing all these songs i like playing over scenes. wish they'd written some original material for the movie.
« Last Edit: January 15, 2011, 12:44:41 PM by I Love a Magician »


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Reply #8 on: January 17, 2011, 07:40:34 PM
Just going to do some rambling about this movie. Spoilers Below.

Such a bitter, miserable film. My main problem is i feel it's not asking us to consider our own past/current relationships/experiences, but rather to just project our own heartbreaks into the blanks. I felt cheated and used after this film. It shows the honeymoon stage, the lovey-dovey, cute moments we can all relate to, and contrasts them with these hateful, cynical scenes of a dying relationship. But why? Why are these people like that? That's what I'm interested in, that's what I wished this (and more) films explored, especially with the type of brutal realism that Blue Valentine strains for. The tagline for this is "A Love Story." What a mean joke. Derek Cianfrance probably got out of a shitty relationship and wanted to express his dissatisfaction with "love." I don't think he's shedding any light on the subject, just trying to remind us of heartbreak. Or maybe he's actualy never been in love, because a lot of the highly emotional scenes feel somewhat artificial. Especially from Ryan Gosling. If most of the movie is indeed improvised then he was drawing less from personal experience and more from tragic romantics in books and movies. Sometimes it felt like he was his character from the Notebook. You know how Wes Anderson draws a lot of his dramatic points from french new wave films? Blue Valentine was like if Wes Anderson grew up watching only Cassavetes. This is a just a melodrama done by an Indie Kid.

There is a lot of good in this movie though. Michelle Williams is the best actress on the planet. Grizzly Bear was a masterstroke (especially "I Live With You" ...so perfect) and it is quite beautifully shot.

Also, the funniest thing in an movie all year was Cindy's flashback dinner table scene with her dad.


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Reply #9 on: January 17, 2011, 09:08:25 PM
fuck this movie and anybody who likes it.
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Reply #10 on: January 24, 2011, 02:55:15 PM
I agree with most that's been said here.  I think that this movie was saved by acting.
I don't mean I think the director is worthless.  He clearly knows how to get a performance and convey emotion, but I think the story is cheap.

Just like IheartMagic was saying, It skips the important stuff.  It cheats by just showing the falling in love and the falling apart.  It jumps from the wine to the dessert.  Boo to that.

I think I felt extra cheated because I got divorced last year and felt a connection to the film from the beginning and was really hoping I would get more from it.  Instead it felt like I was just being reminded "it sucks to break up, don't you wish it was like the good old days again?".

It had promise.  I hate that.


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Reply #11 on: February 22, 2011, 09:10:03 PM
This movie is really good. It's a shame it isn't getting more love. It certainly deserves it. I really liked the way the story was told. I'm perfectly fine with it only telling the beginning and the end of their relationship. That's the best part and what sets the film apart from other movies of this genre. The courtship and the fallout is what makes it great. You put the middle in and it's just like every other movie. Plus if you start telling the middle you probably have to tell the story in chronological order otherwise it would be a complete mess most likely.

It's a shame Gosling didn't get a nomination. He deserved one for sure. Especially his hairline. It stole the show.

Is it just me or did Dean kind of get played for a chump? Cindy is kind of promiscuous and gets knocked up by some douchebag, but Dean says he will help her raise this other guys kid. That's pretty noble of him, but in the end he's the only one trying to save the marriage. He takes her to that hotel with the future room and while you could say that was sleazy, you can't deny his intentions were good. To me she just seemed to take, take, take and never give much back. Deans only fault seemed to be that he was hot-tempered. I hated how, years later, she runs into the guy who got her pregnant and beat up Dean and then tells Dean she ran into him. Why tell him? You keep that to yourself. Nothing good can come out of that. NOTHING. And while you're on your way to a "romantic getaway" no less. Yeah, I was on Dean's side the whole time. Don't know if that's the way it was supposed to be, but that's where I stood.

Anyways, some of the scenes in it were really great. The scene from the trailer where Dean is playing the small guitar and Cindy is dancing and the one where he's threatening to jump off the bridge if she doesn't tell him what's bothering her. The abortion scene too was really touching. As much as a scene like that can be.

Overall it was just a solid, solid movie with some really stellar acting. Highly recommended.
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Reply #12 on: February 22, 2011, 09:13:18 PM
^^ I'm glad I read the spoilers, now I really don't wanna see it. Last American Virgin is much better.
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Reply #13 on: February 22, 2011, 10:55:07 PM
Stop posting, Reelist, this was a lot better than I expected it to be.
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Reply #14 on: February 23, 2011, 11:15:12 AM
I went from interested in this, to not very, but now I really want to see it. Thanks Stefen.
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