To commence, I am a supreme despiser of the hand- held camera technique; sounding decidedly pejorative I still consider it amateurish, devoid of professionalism, relegated to the “wanna be a filmmaker”; a high school novice. I recognize that there have been some fascinating films resulting from this technique, “The Hurt Locker” , jumps immediately to mind.
In “Blue Valentine” this vertigo- inducing technique surpassed all boundaries in depicting intimacy; we shared the bedroom, bathroom, unkempt quarters (yearning for Lysol or Mr. Clean) of the protagonists and their marriage, tottering on the brink of decrepitude; a marriage that should never have occurred ( a wish felt by many in the theatre); two people, bound by the proprieties of parenthood; two people who never took control of their lives. The situation, not their instincts, prevailed, dominated, destroyed.
Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star in this depressing blight of a film directed by Derek Cianfrance. Their hypnotic performances , close to magnificent; flirting with disastrous decisions, a lustful, pulsating sexual relationship doomed to loose its potent and voracious flame; a flame that devours their sensitivity and decency, diminishing their goals.
This movie screams with frustration, the futility of, or rebuilding a partnership on a nonexistent foundation; the loss of blessed youth, the agony of realizing the pleasures, plateaus of love, are morphing into loathing and violence. They are a metaphor for a myriad of couples living in a “Virginia Woolf” milieu; eventually divorcing, slowing dying, shriveling into mean, inconsequential, lacerated souls.
Watching this disturbing, black film, sitting between two intelligent friends; one desperately praying for the conclusion, escape, relief from this torturous two hours; the other relishing the validity of the message, I could only conclude that yes “Blue Valentine” succeeds in exposing the vicissitudes of a diseased relationship and proving “You Always Hurt The One You Love”; in this scenario, the audience.
TWO & 1/2 STARS!!