I’m not usually one for those films that don’t entertain in a more traditional sense, or leave me pepped up after the show but I recently caught this on BluRay as an unwatched catchup film (you know the kind) and have to admit that, though it left me rather depressed, it left an impact.
You can find the official white screenplay hosted here if you fancy a read. As always, if it gets pulled and you want a copy, drop me a comment & I’ll arrange for a copy to reach you.
I won’t go into a full review mode but just point out a couple of standout moments that I feel sum up the theme of the film. A dialogue from DEAN (Ryan Gosling) that stuck with me Act I (from page 16-17):
Dean takes a pull from his cigarette. His body, sore from the manual labor. His mind, ripe.
You see I don’t know... I feel like men are more romantic than women. When we get married we marry one girl. Cause we’re resistant the whole way until we meet one girl and we think I’d be an idiot if I didn’t marry this girl she’s so great.
DEAN HOISTS A 6’ TALL DRESSER WITH DRAWERS ON HIS BACK. CHARLEY TIES A BLUE BLANKET AROUND HIM TO SECURE HIS LOAD. DEAN WALKS OUT OF THE TRUCK AND INTO A NEW APARTMENT.
But it seems like girls get to a place where they just kinda pick the best option or something.
Marshal nods his head in approval...
I know girls that married they’re like. “Oh he’s got a good job.” I mean they spend their whole life looking for Prince Charming and then they marry the guy who’s got a good job and is gonna stick around.
JAMIE HANDS OUT THE DAY’S MONEY, PLUS TIP. DEAN COUNTS HIS CUT. – 327 DOLLARS. NOT BAD. BUT HIS BACK FEELS BROKEN.
This to me within the first few minutes of the film defines to the viewer what DEAN is all about. He knows that when he finds ‘the one’, that’s it, he’ll happily make amends to his life, sacrifice whatever he needs to, but make sure he gives the relationship his fullest. That’s where his focus will be. Whether it be his sense of romanticism or naivety, this defines DEAN as a character.
It’s also interesting that this flow of thoughts is imparted on the viewer as he struggles carrying a lot of weight around. It’s almost as though the writers were aware how much of a load these set of ideals would be on his shoulders. ;)
As hinted, unlike the character of DEAN, the film focuses on the theme that though a character is so driven and dedicated, sometimes, it’s just not enough, as relationships aren’t about one person. Sometimes, no matter how much you want something to work, if the pieces don’t fit together, that simply is the fact of the matter, they don’t fit together.
Of course, it’s time that is the true test of this, which is why a back and forth from the present to the past forges the viewers path to discovering how we have reached the state of the relationship that opens up the film.
I personally found this journey pretty gut-wrenchingly painful. Once I was done with the film, I sulked some and started reflecting on what I/they had endured.
A particular scene stood out to me that I felt summed it all up. Conveniently, I found a poster that seems to think so too. I started flicking through the screenplay seeking out this scene, only to find it’s not there. Interesting, I thought.
The scene I’m thinking of is a flashback of DEAN and CINDY as they get to know each other. He sings to her as she dances. This features on the soundtrack too and the title summarises it aptly. “You Always Hurt the One You Love”.
Blue Valentine currently gets a 7.6 rating on IMDb, and though I wouldn’t rate it quite that highly, if you’re up for some emotional masochism, it seems to hit that spot rather nicely.
Over to you, please share your thoughts..