His 'Blue Valentine' studies the breakdown of a marriage through beautiful and heartbreaking juxtaposed scenes of past joy and optimism with present scenes of misery and depression. These are two people with a very idealized and romanticized view of love. I honestly cannot make sense of it. Comfortable as voyeurs, we let our favourite stars distract us and we forget our worries. Cindy also comes from a dysfunctional family, with her own mother and father not setting an example of a harmonious married or family life. For some reason we think graphic torture is fine, but sex and nudity will be the downfall of us all. One of her previous serious.
This style allows you to see how they fell in love with each other, but also showed the lack of foundation the ultimately doomed them. The dynamic of goofy, doting father, and concerned, loving mother is brilliantly played, and creates some genuinely sweet and heartbreaking moments. In the defensive, aggressive way he turns every line of dialogue around on the speaker as a hidden affront to his insecurities, Gosling reminded me of no less than De Niro in Raging Bull as the older Dean. I heard the director say he was sympathetic to both characters. If you think of a relationship as having a life then Blue Valentine is that life at the moment of death where the life that is dying flashes in front of your eyes.
My response is surely subjective, but I don't feel Cindy ever loved Dean. This script went through 66 drafts over 12 years and it shows in the attention to detail, the brilliant pacing, and the way it allows a look and silence to speak volumes. You're in a relationship that is failing, you know it's failing, the other person knows, your friends know, but it just hasn't reached that crisis point that forces it to end. Playing the younger version, he channels the charm, romanticism, and recklessness of a 1960s Paul Newman. It is graphic, but more that that it is sad.
Williams, who has emerged as the best American actress 30 and under, pulls off a performance that recalls Gena Rowlands' work with Cassavettes. Cindy is sexually over-active and, although occasionally frolicsome, is more mature than Dean. He is still infatuated with her, but she has moved on and there isn't any of the old spark left. It's raw in every sense of the word. The story shows you the past, how these two characters met, what made them fall for each other, romantic and heartfelt. One could argue that Cindy is right in that Dean seems too content, like he doesn't have ambition, he's short tempered and very demanding. It is good enough to deserve another view or two, but it is just to heartbreaking.
Dean is easy-going, happy-go-lucky and content in his removal and packing company. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams floor me. So there have been many attempts to capture relationships on the big screen that's not fantastical but more grounded and more honest. You don't have to go back to classic films in the 60s, you could just take last year's indie Peter and Vandy for example. He is very charming, yet he has a mournful countenance, and possesses a James Dean-like vulnerability.
I'm completely amazed by the way the play the fights and the arguments. She was desperate, pregnant and facing life as a young parent, and Dean was there to hold her. Acting doesn't get better than this Dramas about a couple whose relationship is warm and fuzzy at first but then grows cold and bitter over time is not something new. I attended the press screening and read the press notes afterward and was amazed by the long, grueling process that Cainfrance went through along with his stars Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams just to get the kind of characters they have in mind. He plays all the clumsy sweetness and frustration of Dean perfectly, and she plays the damage and need to be loved with a quiet power that is absent from most performances today. Dean, a high school drop out, comes from a broken home, where he never really had a mother figure. You look at Dean's character Gosling's best role to-date and wonder what it is that he did wrong.
He is chary of formal education, but has a philosopher's outlook. But 'Blue Valentine' shows a truth no cinema can shield us from. My favorite poem is T. It's almost impossible to imagine anyone in anything coming close. He'd be my poster-on-the-wall if I were 13.
I can't get that entrancing scene where Dean serenades Cindy out of my head. As a mother and wife, I found her to be unlikeable and selfish, cold and unloving. You see the beginning of the end, then you see how they meet, you see the relationship deteriorate further, then you see their amazing first date. Gossling and Williams are both superb in this film. And one could argue that Dean is right in that Cindy is too consumed by the thoughts of what could've, would've, should've been if the her choices had been different. About five years on, romance becomes repulsion, and their marriage becomes one of inconvenience. Through most of the film it is obvious that the only reason they stayed together as long as they did is because of their daughter, and their absolute love for her.
No two actors have complemented each other this well for some time. For want of any other description, it is terribly stupid. Flitting back and forth in the marriage, it asks: Is romantic love the ultimate form of masochism? Gosling as the devoted, hard working father is touching, Williams as the overworked mother who seems to be raising her husband along with her daughter is touching. Last year we had the film Precious which was a pretty heavy, emotionally draining drama. In an age where vapid acting is vogue, Gosling is a novelty. As Dean and Cindy, Gosling and Williams respectively convince you that they once love each other and now they may or may not be able to stand each other's presence.
They reach their nadir when he practically begs for affection, and she pleads with him to be more ambitious. It captures the joyous highs and devastating lows of relationships better than anything I can recall. He doesn't have any professional ambition beyond his current work - which he enjoys since he feels he can knock off a beer at 8 o'clock in the morning without it affecting his work - although Cindy believes he has so much more potential in life. They simply don't craft scenes like this or give actors roles this fully realized in Hollywood anymore. Cindy was probably not intentionally manipulative, but from her initial reluctance to tell Dean about her pregnancy, to her secrecy around her job offer or the encounter in the grocery store, these are all subtle manipulations and lies, hiding the truth and her true self from Dean. I'd love to feel he's better-off without Cindy, if only it weren't so heartbreakingly clear that he loves her and her daughter immensely.