12 January 2011

Blue Valentine (2010)

Ryan Gosling kills it in every movie. A friend recently said that he wasn't a Gosling fan but then revealed he'd only seen him in The Notebook. I haven't seen that movie -- and probably won't for awhile -- but Gosling's other performances are so off the charts good that I'm angry he's known as "the Notebook guy," even if it's just by one person out of billions. Well, hopefully after this movie, Gosling will be known as "the Blue Valentine guy" to everyone. I'm trying hard to think of an actor I like better than Gosling and I'm blanking. Alice Gregory explains it well in her Girl on Film article, "His Opposites Attract: Ryan Gosling's Twee-Man Allure."

Take all the love I have for Gosling and flip it one eighty for my take on Michelle Williams. I've always thought she was overrated. Seriously, Dawson, why did you even like her?! Well I'm here to say that Michelle Williams was really great in Blue Valentine. While I could see a few other actresses in her role, I think Williams did a superb job. Here's an interview with her where she talks about director Derek Cianfrance's unique working environment.

Cianfrance must have known that Michelle was his gal as he changed the setting of the film to New York -- from California -- in order to accomodate Williams' promise to always tuck her daughter into bed. Keep in mind this is the kid Williams has with Heath Ledger. Useless trivia: Little Matilda's godparents are Jake Gyllenhaal and Busy Philipps.
“When we started shooting last year it turned out to be a blessing because I had so many years to work with Ryan and Michelle, and they had so many years to work on their characters and they really became what I consider to be co-writers of the script.

I wrote 66 drafts in those 12 years and many of those drafts came because I would have a dinner with Ryan that would go on for 12 hours and then I would come home and re-write the scripts based on our conversations. They really had a lot to say about characters, about dialogue, about feelings, about scenes, about the story.
Ryan and Michelle are also children of divorce, like me, and we all wanted to make our generation’s love story. This film isn’t about our parents; it’s about us trying to deal with our own relationships basically.“
-Derek Cianfrance-
I've been warning people that if they're in a relationship -- especially a turbulent one -- maybe they should consider watching Blue Valentine without their significant other. The post-watching conversation might be awkward if you recognize bits of yourselves in it. Then again, if your relationship can't handle a little movie adversity, maybe you should reconsider things. Dana Stevens is definitely right though, this is not safe for first dates. Actually watching this after a recent breakup might be fraught with emotional danger too. Basically if you're happily single and afraid of commitment, this is the movie for you!
Seriously, Blue Valentine is one of the best films of 2010 and since I love/study relationship films, this was an incredible experience. (Nobody told me that it was funny too, which it totally is.) Watch, re-watch, then go home and hug your body pillow till it don't hurt no more.
I can not get enough of Gosling and Williams' song from the movie: Penny and the Quarters, "You and Me." It's a 2:40 minute track I've been putting on repeat and extending to like two hours. After you watch the film you'll understand.