MOVIE REVIEW: Blue Valentine

At Large


Written and directed by Derek Cianfrance
Starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams

Reviewed by Seth Rogovoy

A mumblecore-inspired, downscale version of Scenes from a Marriage, Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine is an ingenious device tracing the emotional lives of a man and a woman from their teenage years through adulthood. That the two, played with gripping realism by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams -- who make six years gone by look like decades -- meet cute when they are both ready for romance is the tragedy, as Williams is on one path and Gosling is on another, and they are destined to part.

Neither is at fault, in this case, and Cianfrance, in only his second feature film, wields all the storytelling devices of cinema – the tight, character-based camera; the music that emanates from and informs the story as well as the soundtrack; the different film stocks; the color palette; and the non-linear narrative that tells more than any straightforward plot could – in the service of this compelling investigation of the impossibility of love and marriage with the confidence of a swaggering veteran. A must-see.


Seth Rogovoy
is Berkshire Living’s award-winning editor-in-chief and cultural critic.


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