Love can either make you shed tears of joy...or it'll break your heart making you almost want to cry your heart out.
Love is a complex thing. It can either make you shed tears of joy by being with the person you love...or it'll make your heart break. Indeed, nobody ever said that love was easy, nor does it mean that we can't just as easily fall out of love, as we did when we fell into it. Nobody can really predict if a relationship will ever work out in the long run, nor is it ever predicted when one could fall in love. However, what is certain, it's that people can easily fall in love with each other just as easily as they can fall out of love with someone. Is it painful when a person you love so much grows apart from you? Definitely. One would have to be naive to say otherwise. Just like it would be equally naive for a person to say that falling in love isn't one of the greatest feelings in the world.
In "Blue Valentine", the story focuses on a contemporary married couple, whom have been married for years; raising a beautiful daughter together. During the movie, it charts the progression of their relationship over the years by cross cutting between time periods. One moment showing how their love began, to the next where it shows their relationship falling apart, then back. As I said before, relationships are never easy. As grand as love can make anyone happy, it can also break one's heart when they don't work out. What causes their relationship to go awry, I can't really say, as I don't want to give away too much of the film. However, I will say this. In every relationship, there's never any guarantees. Sure, you may think you say all the right things, and do all the right things to keep your relationship stable. However, sometimes the sad reality is that....even that may not be good enough.
As a good friend of mine once said, people sometimes just grow apart over time. Sure, we can debate all day on how love can strive, as long as your willing to work at it. However, what if there is no more love to save in your relationship? What if the love you felt for a person suddenly disappears as you get older? Or what if the person you love suddenly tells you that they no longer love you? Can that relationship still strive when two people no longer feel a connection anymore with each other? Such perplexing questions haunt our protagonists throughout the film. As it shows as easily as it is to fall in love, it's just as easy to fall out of it too; even when we do everything we think we can to make it work. As I said before, sometimes people just grow apart...no matter how much effort is put into a relationship. A sad fact of life.
Derek Cianfrance does a wonderful job orchestrating a powerful thought provoking film about the romantic innate nature of relationships. Showing the full array of how beautiful love can be, and how bad it can be when it's no longer there.
As for Michelle Williams (Cindy) and Ryan Gosling (Dean), what more can I possibly say? They were both exceptional in their roles, as I don't think anyone could have played these parts better than them. Both actors were at the top of their games, and Michelle Williams is definitely worthy of her Oscar nomination for best actress.
Sadly, the film's concept, along with it's ingenuous editing style of having the film shift between different points of the main characters' relationship, is somewhat of a rip off of "Revolutionary Road." A film that eerily has a similar story of a couple struggling to maintain their relationship, as the film shifts back and forth between different points of their relationship as well. To make matters worse, "Revolutionary Road" was a helluva a lot better as a film too, as the deep characterization in that movie was more personal and deep. Whereas "Blue Valentine", it's more vague with a light tongue and cheek way of ending their story.
However, that's not to say that this film is necessarily bad. It's just not that original if your looking for a quality love story about the heartache one endures in relationships. Sure, it's decent for what it is, but I would probably recommend other movies like "Revolutionary Road", "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind", "500 Days of Summer" and others before I would recommend this film. In the end, I'm going to give this film a two and a half out of four. It had a great story with some great performances, but it pales in comparison to "Revolutionary Road" that did the same concept so much better.