In story telling nothing features more prolific than love, whether its star-crossed lovers or a tale as old as time, love always triumphs. However, the writer, director and self proclaiming ‘documentarian of fiction’ Derik Cianfrance showed no interest in depicting a fairytale, rehashed by so many, he instead created a film that showed the side to love that is real and haunting.
Ryan Gosling (Dean) and Michelle Williams (Cindy) give incredible performances in the movie, with Williams earning an oscar nomination, depicting a married couple shifting back and forth in time between their courtship and the dissolution of their marriage.
This is not the last time these two actors have gained critical praise, with 2016 being a successful year for both Gosling and Williams, who both gained oscar nominations for ‘La La Land’ and ‘Manchester by the Sea’ respectfully.
“He creates real people with as many memories and detail as possible then puts them in a real-life situation.” Ryan Gosling on Derik Cianfrance
The way in which Cianfrance crafted the film was just as unorthodox as the story he was telling. With the idea and creation of the film beginning more than six years prior to its release, Cianfrance over this period pieced together the characters memories, feelings and desires, attempting to forge real people in a completely real situation. Cianfrance also worked alongside Gosling and Williams, drawing out their own quirks and abilities in order to better mould the character to the actor together, while not disclosing all the information shared about one another in order to make there coming together in the film to be as real as possible. To illustrate this, look for the night-time scene outside the shop: when it was filmed Gosling had no idea that Williams’ character could tap dance and she had no idea that his could play the ukulele.
The director also heightened the reality of the performances by having the two leads live together for a month, before filming the latter stages of Dean and Cindy’s relationship, this gave the two actors a shared experience feeding into the more real approach to their marriage shown on-screen.
“You said better or worse.You said that. It was a promise. Now this is my worst.” Dean (Gosling)
The passion shown between the to main character is incandescent, however Cianfrance finds ways in which to implant seeds of their promised demise. This is no more apparent than with Deans lack of ambition and immaturity, that Cindy chooses to ignore in favour of his devotion as a husband and a father to their 4-year-old child.
Blue Valentine’s ending is one of the most heart wrenching moments of any movie in the past few years, following the collision between the past and present throughout the film, and never falling into melodrama, everyone involved should be very proud with its final outcome.
A love story that’s no love story, Blue Valentine: 4.5/5.