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Blue Valentine (2010) :: Monday Movies


Blue Valentine (2010) :: Monday Movies
Written by Cami Delavigne, Joey Curtis and Derek Cianfrance
Directed by Derek Cianfrance

What’s your name?” ~ Dean

Go away.” ~ Cindy

Go away? That’s a weird name.” ~ Dean

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About the movie:

Blue Valentine is a 2010 film, written and directed by Derek Cianfrance. The film was co-written with Cami Delavigne and Joey Curtis. The film originally premiered in competition at the 26th Sundance Film Festival. Michelle Williams (Cindy) and Ryan Gosling (Dean) played the lead roles, and also served as co-executive producers for the film. The band Grizzly Bear scored the movie.

The film focuses on married couple, Dean and Cindy Heller, shifting back-and-forth in time between their meeting, dating, marrying and the dissolution of said marriage several years later.

Michelle Williams received an Academy Award for Best Actress nomination for her performance in the film. Michelle was twenty-one when she first received the script. Ryan committed to the film four years later, but filming did not begin until 2009, when Michelle was 29. Originally the filmmaker had wanted to film the “young” and “older” scenes several years apart, but lack of funds put constrictions and delays on the project.

The film was to be shot in California but production was moved to Brooklyn, New York and Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Michelle had wanted to stay close to her Brooklyn home to take care of her daughter, Matilda, so the director chose Honesdale due to its proximity to Brooklyn.

Ryan and Michelle improvised dialogue during the film. For instance, the scene where there characters wander through New York, was improvised. Also, before filming the marriage dissolution, Ryan and Michelle prepared by renting a home, bringing in their own clothing and belongings, buying groceries with a budget based on their characters’ incomes, filming home movies and taking a family portrait at a local Sears with the actor who played their daughter, and staging arguments between them.

The film was shot in Super 16mm and Red One. The former was used for the pre-marriage scenes and the latter was used for the post-marriage scenes. Andrij Parekh used only one professional light in the filming of the outside scenes, otherwise using only practical lights for the inside scenes.

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My Thoughts:

This movie crushed me when I first watched it. I felt so much for these two characters that I was shaken up when it was obvious there would be no resolution in the end for them. I kept wanting there to be a glimmer of hope, a moment’s pause, a small gleam of light in the distance. There was none though, and in more ways than I can articulate, that was the more realistic ending, and it is why the movie crushed me so hard.

After watching it for the first time I had trouble shaking the characters off of me. They stayed with me for days and days, and I kept going back and forth on deciding if it was one of the saddest movie I’d ever seen, or one of the best movies. Looking back, and revisiting now, I’d say it is very much both.

The story of Cindy and Dean is heartbreaking to me, and also very familiar. I have been there, been in that magic of first meeting and falling in love, and I have been on the flip side when it all falls apart, and I know exactly what that kind of decimation of love feels like. Scenes in this film felt ripped from moments of my own life and it hurt badly to watch. That dreamer in me kept holding her breath for a happy ending, even though deep inside I knew that there just isn’t one. Just like in life.

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I got us a song. You know, like our song that will just be for you and me.” ~ Dean

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