8.3

Blue Valentine

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<i>Blue Valentine</i>

Director: Derek Cianfrance
Writers: Derek Cianfrance, Joey Curtis, Cami Delavigne
Cinematograper: Andrij Parekh
Stars: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams and John Doman
Studio: The Weinstein Company

Most films about disintegrating marriages are grim, gray affairs, and filmmakers often use the device as an excuse to punish their audiences. It’s why I generally avoid the genre like the plague. But Blue Valentine is different—the story is told with such overwhelming tenderness and humanity that although the slow unraveling of Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams’ love is still heartbreaking, it feels like the director’s heart is breaking along with yours.

It doesn’t hurt that Gosling, one of the best actors of his generation, is in top form, or that Williams gives the finest performance of her career. The script was promising enough to win the Chrysler Film Project even before those performances were turned in, and indie favorites Grizzly Bear contributed a haunting soundtrack. There was really nothing in director Derek Cianfrance’s resume to suggest he had such a nuanced, sensitive film in him, but I’ll certainly be watching his career with interest from here on out.

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