Blue Valentine

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams. Drama. Written by Directed by Derek Cianfrance.

FILM SYNOPSIS: 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 (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) use one night to try and save their marriage.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Once upon a time, people escaped to the movies in order to avoid real life. Then it became evident to the masters of the medium that it could be used to poignantly address life issues. In this last decade, studio heads have decided to save most of these life issues dramas for end of the year release, giving us a glut of intense, often depressing films. This is mandated by studio publicity departments in order to keep Academy Award hopefuls fresh in the minds of Oscar voters (they nominate at the end of January). What it does for audiences is leave us with an excess of “real” life messages containing enough angst to turn us all into manic depressives. In this past month, Somewhere, Black Swan, Inside Job, Fair Game, Tyler Perry’s For Colored Girls, and Biutiful have left this reviewer longing for a Jerry Lewis movie. Some of these films are satisfied with offering no solution, certainly no spiritual resolve, focusing on the self-absorbed problems, which depresses even further – for there is no lasting peace if our spiritual nature is neglected. This is true for the brilliantly acted, but oh-so solemn Blue Valentine.

Many motion pictures of the past have ventured into the marriage-on-the-rocks genre, including The Days of Wine and Roses and the highly stylized Two For the Road. Others like Splendor in the Grass and Love with the Proper Stranger dwelt on relationships in turmoil long before getting to the “Wilt thou take…” stage. Nowadays, however, it’s difficult for Hollywood to address the subject of relationships with a happy-ever-after ending. Keep it real, man. After all, we see marriages break up every day. Ain’t that why we go to the movies?

That said, some of us moviegoers are looking for something that touches us, something more potent than CGI and 3D effects. Here’s a character study about two people, one feeling trapped in her marriage, the other satisfied with being a slacker, so long as he can drink beer at 8:00 in the morning and play hide-and-seek with his daughter whenever the mood strikes. The film does envelope real emotions and we are left truly caring for the couple, perhaps even seeing shortcomings in our own relationships. Therefore, I wouldn’t be afraid of the sad ending. Alas, the couple is not exactly Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn. Crudity in language and attitude abound and the filmmaker has convinced these two actors that more is better when portraying sexual acts. In an attempt to show copulation devoid of any passion other than lust, the graphicness might have shamed Harry Reems and Linda Lovelace (two former porno stars – so I’m told).

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
The Weinstein Company

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: A couple of crude sexual remarks

Obscene Language: At least 80 obscenities, many accruing in heated arguments.

Profanity: Seven profane uses of God’s name, and Christ’s is thrown away like a mere expletive on one occasion.

Violence: Two brawls, one where a jealous boyfriend of the girl beats up the male lead and another scene where the drunken protagonist hits his wife’s boss. Blood: Bloodied noses

Sex: There are several sexual acts, including oral sex, each graphic, their inclusion meant to show lust and desperation rather than true love.

Nudity: A few scenes feature her topless and him bottomless.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: He smokes throughout, and both are heavy drinkers, their youth not yet revealing the ravages of substance abuse.

Other: The lead’s parents also have bad marriages.

Running Time: 120 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

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