Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling give fearless performances in Blue Valentine, a gritty and uncompromising exploration of a contemporary relationship.
The film shifts between two periods of the couple's time together — the beginning of the romance, when Dean (Gosling) and Cindy (Williams, an Oscar nominee in the role) meet, to a few years later, when they are married, facing money worries and are parents of a young girl (Faith Wladyka).
Dean is a bit of a dreamer who carries a ukulele around, happy to have someone to love. While a worker and provider, he has little ambition, which begins to bother his wife. And so after six years together, he and Cindy, a nurse trying to get a promotion, find themselves moving in different directions.
The film, which took 12 years for writer-director Derek Cianfrance to bring to the screen, is too shifting in focus to be engrossing, though there are some moments between the actors that are riveting.
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Falling in and out of love can be an inarticulate and inconsistent experience in real life, but translating that to the screen doesn't necessarily ring true.
Blue Valentine retails for $29.98 or $39.99 Blu-ray.