Monday, January 31, 2011
Blue Valentine: Two Great Performances
I enjoyed Blue Valentine, in large part, due to the raw and strong performances by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. They made themselves vulnerable on screen in a way that most actors can only dream of doing.
The story, a simple one, centers around a couple who fall in love and fall out of love, told in a non-chronological order. The main story takes place in a span of about a day and then we are witness to flashbacks of the characters before they met, and when they met, and when they fell in love. I found the story itself to be a bit weak in its originality. But there were scenes throughout that were very powerful due in part to, of course, dialogue that rang true, but mainly because of the actors. They were fully present in every scene and it showed.
I had an issue with some plot elements that felt too tacked on and put there for dramatic effect, a minor quibble really. But my biggest issue against the film would have to be Gosling's choice of wardrobe and hair styles. We see him at one age, in flashback, and then 6 years later when the marriage seems to be falling apart. And I, for one, don't buy that the character would have aged in such a way. It felt too extreme, and he looked like a child molester. As though he wanted to ugly himself up, which would make it easier for his wife to make the choice of leaving him if she had to. Williams, on the other hand, six years later, looks a bit haggard and beat down, but she still retains the realism of how one would age in that scenario. I wish Gosling and the director had made another choice.