Sunday, January 9, 2011

Blue Valentine

Movie name: Blue Valentine
Year of release: 2010
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Stars:Michelle Williams, Ryan Gosling, Faith Wladyka, John Doman, Mike Vogel, Ben Shenkman, Eileen Rosen
Genre: Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3

Derek Cianfrance is a director whose previous films have been in the documentary field, and that approach is easily recognizable in his first feature film. The film follows the story of a couple, Dean and Cindy, since they first meet, through the development of their relationship, marriage and finally dissolution of the same bond. Both are young when they marry, and as their lives evolve, so do both of them, but Cindy feels stuck in a relationship where she has to be the mother for two people, their little girl and her husband. Dean on his side, is trying to maintain the relationship going for as long as he possibly can. These two antagonistic sides clash as they both try to move on with their lives.
The film has an interesting premise, and the director tries to emulate the style that John Cassavetes, so perfectly captured in "Faces" and "Husbands". His documentary style approach allows to capture the pains of those two characters, however, both Cindy and Dean are so under-developed that the viewer never really understands where they're coming from. Cindy's sudden lack of interest in maintaining the relationship is seen from her perspective, but never fully explored or understood. Dean's anguish ends up being summarized in a brutish behavior that falls under cliches already seen and explored in countless films. This is a film that unlike the light and breezy "500 Days of Summer" from Marc Webb, tries to be an insightful and ponderous exploration of the dynamics of a couple, but ends up feeling like a rehash of TV films. The best thing about the film is the compelling performance of Michelle Williams and the beautiful score from Grizzly Bear. Sadly, those enough don't make much for a film that is severely under-developed.