‘Blue Valentine’: Grittier than ‘True Grit’

Posted by Jon Wiener on January 2, 2011

Before I knew what Blue Valentine was, I knew of its controversy.  For those who are unaware, Blue Valentine includes a scene in which Ryan Gosling’s character, Dean, performs oral sex on Michelle Williams’ character, Cindy.  Although the scene is not graphic and includes zero nudity, the MPAA (whose rating system is diminishing in importance) questioned whether the film deserves an NC-17 or R rating, based solely on this scene.  Ultimately, the MPAA decided on an R for Blue Valentine, which simply makes it more accessible for public viewing.  However, without this controversy, it’s hard to say if as many people would know about Blue Valentine, though it did instill a pre-movie Brown Bunny-inspired fear.  Fortunately, my fears were irrational.  Blue Valentine was pretty fucking great.

For 2 hours, you’re trapped in the most tense moments of a decaying marriage.  How did they get this way?  Surely they were happy enough at one time to get married and have a child together.  Thanks to the invention of flashbacks, we see how everything began for Dean and Cindy – the cute, funny and heartbreaking moments.

Some scenes were difficult to watch due to subject matter, but it’s important to experience what Dean and Cindy are going through.  I wish I could go into more detail, but the more you learn about their relationship, the more their outcome makes sense.

One aspect of Blue Valentine that should not go unnoticed is the exemplary make-up department.  For anybody to successfully make Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams look like shit is certainly an accomplishment.  The transformation between them now and them 5 years ago is absolutely astonishing.

Go see Blue Valentine if you think you can handle it.  Oh, and if you’re trying to find something to do for a first date, I hear The King’s Speech is very good.

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