Jonathan and Julie Myerson on Blue Valentine: almost too painful to watch | Film | The Guardian
Movies about dangerous romantic relationships . Blue Valentine If so, The Burning Bed is quintessential abusive relationship fodder. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email. The extraordinarily well-acted film "Blue Valentine" is being promoted and take in the relationship and see his partner for the adult she longs to be able to become. An abusive relationship? Frankly, Blue Valentine makes me angry, it makes me sad, and it challenges my faith in myself and my fellow movie.
With Dean's support, she books an abortion, only to find she can't go through with it. Dean, meanwhile, who works for a removals firm and doesn't seem to boast much by way of professional ambition, is understanding.
He puts his arms around her, says maybe they should be "a family". And so they marry, while knowing almost nothing about each other except that, for the moment anyway, they're sexually compatible.
Five or six years later, although Dean does seem to be an involved and hands-on father to their little girl, he's also a directionless loser, dozing over his beer at eight in the morning.
Cindy, meanwhile, has missed her chance of becoming a doctor and has had to make do as a radiographer.
She's not only out of love with both the idea and the reality of Dean, she's also bored, tired, frustrated, angry.
This marriage never stood a chance. Blue Valentine is simply a film about an abortion that should have gone ahead. Yet how much more interesting and complex it would have been had it been prepared to show us something a bit more ambiguous — an honest account of how even the best intentioned and most loving marriages can come unstuck.
Yes, the early days are heady, exciting, sexually delicious. But most couples marry after a substantial period of knowing and caring for one another. They know stuff about each other. They do both easy and difficult things together. There are in-depth conversations, opportunities to explore one another emotionally as well as simply physically. And one of the most universal sadnesses, surely, is that not even all of this can guarantee a long and happy relationship.
Because marriages are difficult. And life, with all of its problems and risks and uncertainties, is precarious and stressful.
So, the years and the kids roll by and one day you're 26 or 30 and laughing together about something happy and stupid. And then it feels like no time at all has passed and you look up to see a tired, preoccupied, middle-aged person in front of you.
That moment, with all of its compromises and — ultimately, if you're lucky, kindnesses — is what this film could have been about. But to do that, the couple would have had to have got to know each other properly, had fewer accidents, more planned children you think it's hard with one child, Cindy — you wait till they outnumber you and, of course, there would have had to be some decent and realistic dialogue.
'Blue Valentine': The Difference Between Falling in Love and Falling in Need | HuffPost Life
Where I thought the film was almost strong, and certainly far more honest, was in the scene where Dean insists on taking Cindy for a "romantic" night away at what turns out to be a comically sleazy sex motel.
He — romantic in the purest, laziest and most useless way — thinks that all it will take to fix their marriage is a long night of drinking and sex. She — an ambitious working mother whose husband is content that his blue-collar drudgery allows him to stay drunk all day — is frankly just shattered. She needs a cup of tea, an early night, a man who's prepared to talk to her, listen to her, put his arms around her.
The exact opposite of a sex motel, in fact. I loved the look on Michelle Williams's face — simultaneously weary and crestfallen — as she stood and surveyed the enormous revolving bed.
Blue Valentine neglects Michelle Williams's character to villainous levels | Westword
And the scene which followed: This scene, at last, touched me. It was real, it was ugly and it was painful. And because it didn't offer any answers, it took us to a far more honest — and less comfortable — place. Little is more likely to destroy a relationship — or at least bring its fault lines nastily to the surface — than New Year's Eve, the anniversary special date or, as in the case of Blue Valentine's Dean, a night in the Future Room of "a cheesy sex motel".
Because if there's one thing we know when Dean chooses this room instead of Cupid's Caveit's that this relationship Has No Future. Yet it seems so much like the right thing to do.
Drop the kid at grandpa's and spend some unhassled time together. It is one thing for a woman to make bad choices because of her upbringing—no woman wants to be abused, but sadly we know that a lot of them are attracted to these men because their fathers were that way.
This points to a larger concern: But Blue Valentine has been garnering rave reviews, with critics falling over themselves praising the film for its examination of a doomed marriage, a love that went wrong, and about Dean, a man who some have described as the perfect examination of male insecurity. The movie I sat through is a film about abuse, nothing more. This both works for and against Blue Valentine.
There can be no question that this is the case. But right out of the gate I found myself conflicted, as right away we see him use the missing dog for his own gain. Not only did it help him bond with his daughter at the expense of her mother, but later, at a school event, sitting in the crowd with the other parents, Cindy, showing up late and in tears, tells her husband that she found the poor dog dead by the side of the road.
She is totally distraught. He does not comfort her because only he is capable of deep feeling—Cindy is only there to help this poor suffering soul. No one helps her.
Jonathan and Julie Myerson on Blue Valentine: almost too painful to watch
At first I thought that this was going to be the first moment of the awful give and take of any ruined relationship. And Dean is the king of the assholes. Blue Valentine is not, as many critics have argued, a movie about the end of a marriage. Problem is, as we will see throughout, she has decided, and the decision was not to go.
And she simply has had enough. This is also not a movie about a beautiful relationship gone bad—there was never a beautiful relationship. So is this a story of a doomed love, of a couple who have tried to make it work, of poor Dean, the last romantic? Club two great reviewers by the way seem to think so. They admire Dean, feel sorry for the bloke, and felt their hearts break at the sight of young love gone sour. He goofs around with the girl, deliberately sides with her against her mother.
Lane is not alone—many other critics found Dean a man to be pitied, empathized with, a doomed romantic who might have thrived in a different time. Therein lies the trouble: The marketing for the movie shows Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling wrapped around one another, and the closing credits show them in very posed, very sexy, very loving embraces as fireworks go off. Cindy gets knocked up by her former boyfriend, but Dean, noble Dean, wants to raise the child—what a good guy.