49. Blue Valentine (2010)

Dead romance can be surprisingly romantic

9/10
Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Written by: Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams and John Doman

After having a conversation with a few classmates in my film studies class about romantic comedies, we all came to the conclusion that romance had well and truly died in today’s cinema. Or at least been exhausted to the point where all we can do now is supply quick-fixes and crude sex jokes when it comes to the idea of love.

It doesn't look too hard to fall in love with that man..

OK, I know I’m talking about the wrong genre here because let me make this clear – Blue Valentine is NOT a romantic comedy. But it is definitely a film that proves romance can be beautifully and rather poetically depicted in a modern context, even if the film’s own plotline involves the heartcrushing pains of falling in, and more so, falling out of love.

Revolving around the tragic struggles of a married couple, Blue Valentine evocatively flips back and forth in time to look at the progression of their relationship and their long battle to stay together through thick and thin. It doesn’t sound like a particularly original story, but the film is thought-provoking in its discussion of love as something that isn’t necessarily ideal or consistent, but rather, something that we can’t control – no matter how desperately we want to.

With performances by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams that leave long-lasting impressions, and a convincing sense of contast between the characters as young, free little things vs. their more mature and jaded selves, Blue Valentine will wrench your heart out, make you fall in love with Ryan Gosling all over again (stupid Notebook and your cheesy lines…) and fall deeply into the conflicts and tragedies of this intensely immersive film.

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