Save Big On Open-Box & Pre-owned: Buy "Blue Valentine [Blu-ray]” from Amazon Warehouse Deals and save 66% off the $19.99 list price. Product is eligible for Amazon's 30-day returns policy and Prime or FREE Shipping. See all Open-Box & Pre-owned offers from Amazon Warehouse Deals.
Other Sellers on Amazon
No enhanced packaging
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Special Offers and Product Promotions
Blue Valentine is the story of love found and love lost told in past and present moments in time. Flooded with romantic memories of their courtship, Dean and Cindy use one night to try and save their failing marriage. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star in this honest portrait of a relationship on the rocks.
Making of Blue Valentine
Top Customer Reviews
Some would say that the film makes a broad statement on how love or marriage can go from sweet to sour. How we sabotage our happiness. How difficult it is to make a happy marriage (or for the true cynics, how IMPOSSIBLE it is).
I took NO global message from the film. It is powerful, but it is very small in scope. This is because the filmmaker Derek Cianfrance has made a deeply SPECIFIC movie. Gosling & Williams give VERY lived-in performances where we very much feel we are looking at a very particular couple going through very particular joys and disappointments. We feel like we're getting a very intimate peek into what makes this particular couple tick. Thus, it becomes nearly impossible to extrapolate the film to the general subject of "marriage." This is not a failing, per se...but I've certainly read comments on the film that imply that very thing. That is absurd, quite frankly. Each marriage has its own rhythms, pulses, occurrences & secrets. The relationship depicted here feels real, because it is so specific. It also feels small.
To me, the main reason to see this film is for the performances. Both stars do their best work here...by a long way. Williams has given some nice performances in the past (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN, WENDY & LUCY)...but often her performances have been of women more or less drained by life. Williams, particularly in the early scenes, is full of undirected ambition and spirit. She's eager to get away from her terrible homelife and is smart enough to have career ambitions, even though this is not something that runs in her family. She's very close to her grandmother, but terrorized by her parents, who have vicious arguments that she must endure. She makes lousy choices in men. Gosling is new to the big city (NYC) and naïve. He's poorly educated, and not terribly ambitious. He's not seen anything for himself other than getting away from his own sad family situation. He's a terribly nice guy (his early scene with a senior citizen he doesn't even know is touching, heartbreaking and puts us forever on his side)...but has little to offer other than devoted, puppy-dog love. The two have a passionate and convincing early romance...but when they take the step to marriage, we also see that from the first day, the seeds of end of the marriage have already been planted. I won't give specifics...but let's just say that not enough of their paths are converging for this thing to really have a shot. For them, marriage is an escape from demons...and we see they are bringing some of the demons right along with them.
In the later scenes, as they fight and old bitterness comes out...we are able to pretty much guess just how the five years since the wedding day have gone by. Gosling has spent his time in menial jobs, showing no inclination to move up. Williams, because she now has a family, has put her ambitions on the back burner. She's a nurse, but she's also by far the primary breadwinner. The two seem to have a comfortable lower middle-class life...but their paths have diverged (Gosling is barely even on a path.)
I suspect the film wants us to feel good and bad for each of them in equal measure. To not take sides...but to simply feel bad for both and to wish they could find a way to get it together. However, my experience and that of my wife, was that we very much took sides (both with the same person)...and this somewhat diminishes the power of the film. It's not meant to be a good vs. bad movie...but it sort of ends up that way.
This is not a happy film...but there's plenty of wry humor. (And if you've heard about the graphic sex that initially got this film an NC-17...you'll likely scratch your head at that. The sex in BLACK SWAN was far more "shocking.") It's also not as depressing as perhaps you've heard. Again, because we're watching a film that ISN'T about our own marriage. Our marriage is very different. We see this couple and feel for them...but we don't sit there and think, "OMG, this is SO much like my marriage." (Thank goodness.) Granted, this is a very personal response from me...others may feel differently.
You should absolutely see the film, though. It features two of the very best American performances this year. And despite seeming like we're just watching home movies, it is actually very artfully photographed. And as a bonus, it features the most outrageous cheap hotel room in film history. (Don't ask...just see for yourself.)
Husband Dean, (Ryan Gosling) and his wife Cindy, (Michelle Williams) are hopelessly convincing together and have a palpable onscreen chemistry. Their younger years are shown through flashbacks including so many uncomfortable exchanges to learn much information of their psychological past selves. These explain so much of what is happening while the movie plays through to the present time. Starting here in their younger lives, which are so important and relevant to the whole disintegration of the marriage. I seemed to see quite a bit about these two at this point in time.
Dean, who seemed the less complicated person to understand for me, was (and remained) hard working and took whatever menial job that he could get by with. I saw him as a pretty interactive person, social with his co-workers, laughing often and empathetic. In a wonderfully showing scene with an elderly gentleman (Walter), we are treated to just how caring Dean most certainly is. These nurturing qualities would be greatly needed in a future father. One could easily see the extra time and special way he gave Walter dignity and pride while introducing him to his new living quarters, this happened to be where Cindy's beloved grandmother was staying for a time also. There really isn't too much background to look at as far as Dean personally except for his ability for putting the needs of others before himself.
I could find several upsetting problems befalling Cindy in her upbringing. She, in sharp contrast to Dean, is not happy and quite cynical. She comes from an abusive family background from some very showing scenes which must cause self-esteem issues. During her relationship with her high school boyfriend is the point where you should start seeing red flags. He mistreats her, is cruel with her feelings and is downright abusive with her at times. Cindy has not had a relationship that is healthy, with the exception of her grandmother. The couple meets at the nursing home. Dean sees her from around Walter's new room and seems immediately smitten with her, this is how they begin. Aside from the normal infatuation stage, these two seem as if they have two completely different dispositions. One of the recollections I thought pertinent for showing that they're so lopsided was the joke suffering in poor taste that Cindy tells to Dean on the bus - it made me cringe. It sure didn't appear that Dean was comfortable with it whatsoever while she laughs aloud.
To understand the relationship for what it is, I found it necessary to always keep in mind how Cindy has been treated in her former relationships which arguably involves an abusive element. Dean does not show any penchant for abuse at all and especially not towards her. He does not understand her comfort with things being painful considering his nurturing capabilities. With many things Cindy does, it appears she does not have a whole lot of empathy. With Dean being the opposite, she is mostly cold and shut-off, then towards their daughter Frankie she can be neglectful of her safety and of her care at times. This is easily shown at the breakfast time as the movie opens. She also forgets the recital while Dean sits fidgeting until the ending when Cindy runs in.
During the scenes with Cindy and her father, there is a comfortable relationship between them even though he was a large part of her abusive upbringing. Dean is left out and looked down on by the man as being an outcast in the family. Being Cindy's husband who is treated with so much disrespect at the tragic ending of the film, which is emotionally crushing between Frankie and her father. I believed in all this pain was how this film actually played truthfully with their romantic onset. If not to bring out your strongest feelings towards the characters and their situations then why play certain things out during this heartbreaking unraveling of their family? The characters all made me feel several different emotions; anger, abandonment, loss, but mainly a pervasive sadness that permeates this film. An exhaustive character study that basically remained in my thoughts and influenced my state of mind for a long while after watching; a long while.
Cianfrance doesn't give us all the details of how Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) fall out of love; he tells the story in non-linear fashion, contrasting the couple's bitter present with their (relatively) sweet past. He dares to juxtapose the moment in Dean and Cindy's past when they fall in love--she does a softshoe to his ukulele version of "You Always Hurt the One You Love"--with the exact moment in the present when they fall out of love, a joyless encounter in an "adult motel" that Dean thought would respark the passion in their marriage. ("Blue Valentine" barely escaped a dreaded NC-17 rating.)
Gosling and Williams give two of the most powerful, emnotionally naked performances you will ever see, and "Blue Valentine"--though not exactly a pleasurable film--will leave you shaken and deeply moved. Dean and Cindy, Cianfrance tells us, are two people whose lives have been defined by pain and misfortune. The supreme, sad irony is that marrying each other may have been their greatest misfortune.