This past weekend, my boyfriend and I visited the Enizan Theater to see a movie produced by a good friend of my uncle called “Blue Valentine.” After seeing status updates, links, and posts on my uncle’s Facebook all about the movie, not to mention an Oscar nomination for Michelle Williams in this role, I figured it was worth it to check out this claimed “love story.”
Blue Valentine was written and produced by Derek Cianfrance, who also wrote and produced a movie with my uncle, “Brother Tied” about 13 years ago. Evidently, the idea for this film has been in the making since Brother Tied’s debut at the Sundance Film Festival in 1998. We also took notice of the executive producers of this film–Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, themselves.
The movie is told in sort of a flashback sequence, beginning with Gosling and Williams’ lives now and we see frequent flashbacks of their lives when they first met, when they were dating, and when they got married at city hall. Their love and happiness is so apparent in these flashbacks, but when we are moved back to scenes of the present, the relationship is cold, painful, and almost unwilling. They have a child, Frankie, who spends the weekend at her grandparents’ house while her parents try to reconnect in a themed-room motel, theirs being “the future room.” Gosling always has a cigarette in his mouth and is drinking heavily in so many scenes. He says that he drinks at eight in the morning because “he has a job that allows him to drink at eight in the morning.” This takes a toll on his health, looks, and of course, his wife. What appears to be the breaking point for Williams is when he bursts into the hospital where she is working and fights with her behind a glass door. The ending was disappointing and not what I expected, but at the same time, I think that’s what made this movie stand out from the others.
What was the point of the movie? “A love story,” is seen on the advertising portrait and trailer. Sure, it was definitely a love story in its flashback tales of young love and a city hall wedding, but what about the fighting? What about the crumbling apart of the marriage? This is where my boyfriend hit the point dead-on: this is a modern day love story.
As we all know the alarming high statistics of divorces in this nation, this movie depicts the truth. This movie shows the reality of how people can get married young and then realize they married the wrong person. Or the reality of how people aren’t ready to get married sometimes, but do it anyway. And most of all, what stuck with me, was the reality of how many people give up on the lifetime commitment they made to one other: for better OR for worse, until DEATH do we part. Gosling quotes those vows to Williams toward the end and reminds her of that promise she made. But I guess to her and also to so many, that promise is empty and that promise doesn’t hold as much weight anymore as it used to in previous generations.
This movie was well done, powerful, and even hard to watch at some scenes. And this movie displayed the harsh reality of our society today.