In 'Gegen die Wand' Cahit, a 40-something male from Mersin in Turkey has removed everything Turkish from his life. He has become an alcoholic drug addict and at the start of the movie wants... See full summary »
A poet falls in love with an art student who gravitates to his bohemian lifestyle -- and his love of heroin. Hooked as much on one another as they are on the drug, their relationship alternates between states of oblivion, self-destruction, and despair.
Dean Pereira and Cindy Heller Pereira are a young, working class married couple - Dean currently working as a painter, and Cindy working as a nurse in a medical clinic - with a young daughter named Frankie. Despite their relatively tender ages, they are both ravaged by the life they've eked out together and by the experiences they've had leading into their marriage. Dean, a high school drop out, comes from a broken home, where he never really had a mother figure. He never saw himself getting married or having a family despite falling in love at first sight with Cindy. 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. Cindy also comes from a dysfunctional family, with her own mother and father not setting an example of a harmonious married or family life. One of her previous serious ... Written by
When filming the argument scenes, Derek Cianfrance gave instructions to Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling individually without the knowledge of the other in order to create more tension between Dean and Cindy. For Williams, Cianfrance would instruct her to try to leave the room, use any way to break out of the argument with Gosling etc. For Gosling, Cianfrance would tell him to use any means to persuade, get Williams attention, etc. Gosling has stated it was a new and interesting process as it became a tug game on set. See more »
After the argument at Cindy's workplace, Dean's necklace is visibly broken with the chain hanging down the front of his shirt. In the next shot, the necklace is intact again. See more »
I feel like men are more romantic than women. When we get married we marry, like, one girl, 'cause we're resistant the whole way until we meet one girl and we think I'd be an idiot if I didn't marry this girl she's so great. But it seems like girls get to a place where they just kinda pick the best option... 'Oh he's got a good job.' I mean they spend their whole life looking for Prince Charming and then they marry the guy who's got a good job and is gonna stick around.
See more »
Disappointing -- great actors can't save a weak script.
When I heard Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams were to be in a film called Blue Valentine, and it was about a marriage going bad, I was excited. I was hoping to see something as intriguing as Revolutionary Road, in which Leo Dicaprio, Kate Winslet, and director Sam Mendes do a fine job working with a Richard Yates novel.
Nothing of the sort exists here. Overall the film is dull and somewhat painful to watch. Not because of difficult emotional material, but rather because we just don't care about the characters. I don't fault Gosling and Williams. I think they did a fine -- perhaps even heroic -- job, but the film is a big disappointment because of weak writing and direction.
From what I understand Blue Valentine was delayed for years and when writer/director Derek Cianfrance finally got around to shooting, he told his actors he was sick of the script and that they'd better come up with something to surprise him. Purportedly, Williams was disappointed at this because she loved the script, but Gosling didn't mind because he wasn't good at remembering lines anyway. The film does have an improvised feel and the direction seems unfocused. I never got a sense of where Cianfrance wanted to take us with his story, if you can call it a story.
Cianfrance said he wanted to explore the idea of falling in and out of love, and just what causes that feeling of love to go away. I'm not sure that's a good enough premise for a film, especially if on the first day of shooting you're throwing out the script and asking your actors to improvise. Some reviewers here have said you won't see better acting this year. Yes, it's good, but it doesn't rise to greatness because the actors don't have great material to work with. Compare to Rabbit Hole, in which Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, and Miles Teller move us to the depths of our souls -- mostly with what they say!
Early in 2010 I saw Rob Reiner's lovely film, Flipped, at which he was available afterward for a Q&A. One audience member asked, "What makes for a good movie?" Reiner didn't hesitate, saying, "If you start with a good script and you cast it right, you're 90% there." I liked that answer. And now I'm wondering "what percentage there" are we with Blue Valentine, if the casting is right but the script is thrown out in favor of a scene list? Let me venture a guess -- 30%?
Cianfrance doesn't add much that I can see because he uses a hand-held camera with too many close shots that makes it more difficult to engage with the actors and action. A documentary style is no substitute for good writing. What's more, much was made about the NC-17 rating this film originally received (appealed and later revised to R) because of the oral sex scene. But frankly, that scene, and most of the sex scenes, just made me angry because I couldn't help thinking that Cianfrance should have spent a lot less time on the sex scenes and lot more time writing a good script. Maybe then, he'd have a good picture. But he didn't and he doesn't.
Cianfrance opens the film with a married couple that we can see is unhappy, and then he flashes back to romantic times early in their relationship. The back and forth repeats throughout. Maybe because of this structure, I never really bought the romance. To me, it felt like two "not very bright people" got married for the wrong reasons, and then later found out about it. No big surprise there. Compare again to Rabbit Hole, which also opens with an unhappy married couple, but soon enough we learn that they have very good reasons to be unhappy and are struggling mightily to hang on to their love and make sense of their marriage after a devastating loss. It's great writing that lets them deliver great performances so that we truly care about them.
After the picture, my wife was disappointed, and upon learning of my disappointment, she couldn't understand why I didn't suggest leaving. I told her I had high expectations, and out of respect for Gosling and Williams I stuck with it, hoping it would get better. Well, it didn't and I'm blaming Cianfrance for wasting a lot of talent, effort, and money on something not worth shooting.
23 of 42 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?