On Tuesday I saw the excellent Blue Valentine in the West End. A lot has already been written about Derek Cianfrance’s film and its unconventional structure, which cuts between the beginning and the end of the central love story. I don’t want to go too much into the film right now (perhaps three months later I’ll be able to write about it, like this) (I don’t want to spoil it for you, yo.), but it did remind me of Godard‘s famous line: “A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end… but not necessarily in that order.” The interesting thing about Blue Valentine is that it doesn’t have a middle. Or, perhaps it does, but we are never shown it and have to figure it out ourselves.
You must go see this film and buy the soundtrack. (Here’s one of the widely-circulated songs.)
“Give me a chance, Dean.”
I like Irène's comments:
“i just saw it this afternoon. to be honest, the film disappoints me a little bit – maybe it's so “real” that it's almost like a documentary. some people say it's a depressing version of 500 days of summer, but it reminds me more of a more realstic, but less dramatic version of revolutionary road – which i like better.
i like what you said the film doesn't seem to have a middle – sometimes, it doesn't really matter why a relationship goes wrong. Or maybe it simply doesn't have a clear answer.”
“Let's write about the film 3 months later! i'd like to know more about what you think.”
T, I always admire your passion for the arts but can't say I was a big fan of this movie (and you know how excited I was for its release). In fact, the more I think about it the more disappointed I feel.
Fundamentally, the characters' motivations don't seem founded or logical. Par example, Ryan Gosling's entire character. The director never commits to making the character a struggling/frustrated artist (which he so obviously is). Instead, the director tries to have it both ways, making the guy both very creative but also an Everyday Joe. It's as if the director were scared to have a capital A artist in his film. As if that were pretentious.
Why does this matter? Cause Michelle Williams' character is continually at Gosling about being more successful and Gosling's character is defensive and argues that he is fine as he is. If so, why does he drink beer at 8am?
Also, he's not a remotely good father, fun as he may be.
And she's a bitch. The whole love hotel scene is illogical and overly harsh. Most any lover would at least give their other a chance…
But most problematically of all is that this couple doesn't have that much tearing them apart. They may cry but I, as an audience member never did. Believe it or not, I think BV wanted a happier ending (I think they could have worked their shit out) but the director didn't have the balls, fearing a happier ending wouldn't be original.
I will say, though, that the leads' performances were great, Williams even more so than Gosling. The direction, however, was weak at best.
Sorry. But thought you might be interested.