Monday, June 16, 2014

Blue Valentine (2010)

Director: Derek Cianfrance
Writers:  Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis, Cami Delavigne
Cast:      Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, John Doman

The film centers on a contemporary married couple, charting their evolution over a span of years by cross-cutting between time periods.

The seeds for deterioration of their relationship is there from the beginning itself with Cindy (Michelle Williams) being a medical student and Dean (Ryan Gosling)  being an employee in a packing and moving firm. Their decision to marry was also made when Cindy was in a vulnerable position with she deciding to keep the baby she conceived with her ex-boyfriend. After the marriage, Dean works part time as a painter and for the rest of the time as the homemaker in their relationship.  Cindy is frustrated by this situation believing he wasting his considerable talents even though he is completely happy with the situation. I recently read an article in Philosopher's Mail titled 'Why You Resent Your Partner': http://www.philosophersmail.com/relationships/why-you-resent-your-partner/ .This was my second watch of this film and it is very close to what the article says. To sum it up, when people insist on equality in marriage they tend to  divide all the tasks right down the middle with each of them supposed to do 50% of the work. Over the course of time society has build up an image that homemaking involves menial tasks and doing a professional job is what everyone is supposed to do. This causes problems when one partner takes complete responsibility of being the breadwinner and the other being the homemaker. Both of them feels a sense of committing a sacrifice leading to resentment.

Another film that one would be reminded of whilst watching this film is 'Before Midnight' which came after this film. But unlike that film, the couple here is finding it difficult to have a honest conversation about their problems and deals with them by causing pain to each other through ill-advised choice of words. The contemporary part of the story involves a time span of 36 hours of their life involving a night in which they try to spruce up their relationships with time spend at a cheap motel.It was good to see Rawls (John Doman) from 'The Wire' playing a not too dissimilar character.

The film was originally rated NC-17 because of the cunnilingus scene. Gosling accused the MPAA of sexism since many films containing fellatio were rated 'R' whilst theirs was rated 'NC-17' citing pornographic content. They appealed successfully and obtained an 'R' certificate without any cuts. Cianfrance was planning to shoot the film over a large time span so that he could shoot the younger and older parts separately. Script was given to Michelle WIlliams when she was 21 but by the time they obtained finance and started shooting she was 29. Both Gosling and Williams served as executive producers. Gosling is an interesting fella with the choices he makes and he is supposed to be going to take a break from acting after finishing his Terence Malick film. Can't wait to watch his directorial debut 'Lost River' which divided the audience at Cannes and received a mixed to bad response. His collaboration with Derek Cianfrance were both fantastic films, but I rate 'Blue Valentine' above 'The Place Beyond the Pines'.

Rating: 5/5