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Blue Valentine: examining love, lost and found

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“How can you trust your feelings when they can just disappear like that?” Cindy (played by Michelle Williams) said this statement to her grandmother when she learnt that grandma never really found love. Cinema has romanticized love to the point that real relationships seem bland to us. But Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine is a movie with honest emotional intensity. It is a raw, heartfelt movie that discovers falling in and out of love in two parallel time zones. Movies like Blue Valentine teach us pain with grace. You smile, you cry, and you feel overwhelmed but you learn – you learn a lot.

Not your clichéd romance-fiction, this piece of cinema is full of raw, heart-felt emotions. It is a movie about falling in and out of love and everything in between. The epitome of a modern-aged love, Blue-Valentine is a timeless tear-jerker.

Dean is the perfect boy, and his love is like the love you write songs about. He falls madly for Cindy the first time he lays eyes upon her. He feels butterflies in his stomach, and leaves the audience awestruck by his behavior. Cindy is a bit messy, but super adorable and full of life. She is someone with hope and ambition; someone with charm. We the audience, on the other hand, simp over Ryan Gosling’s character – the charming and courteous Dean who is also a hopeless romantic. However, we the audience also understand Cindy’s disgust with Dean’s alcoholism as the young boy loses all his ambitions. He falls deeper and deeper into the trap of cigarette addiction and rage.

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The script is written so beautifully that perspectives of both characters are shown. No one is truly wrong or right. Cindy hustles between having a job and maintaining a family. But juggling between the two, she loses her balance as well. The movie witnesses them falling in love, evolving through it and falling apart as they move forward. While both characters have seen their parents’ relationships destruct with time, we see them hoping for a better future. Then, we see them fail.

Another important character arc portrayed is Dean losing interest in his job. Too often people make a compromise between what they want to be and what they become. This wire of emotion also gets struck in the movie. We see him being okay with his present self, and loathing Cindy for worrying. Having a career makes no sense, and he continues to grow insecure about the same. He sees himself as not being good enough, as he did earlier, only this time he does not wish to change.

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portrayal of Dean and Frankie's relationship
credits – Pinterest

Subsequently, the story brings out an adorable relationship between Dean and Frankie. From the very beginning, we see the amazing bond between the little girl and her old man, as the phrase “I love you like crazy” sticks with us. But we are hit like bricks when we learn another heart-breaking fact about Frankie’s father. Once a perfect guy, Dean becomes difficult to look at without weeping with pity.

Even though the marriage seemed rushed, it felt like a perfect fit. We end up falling in love with the couple and it almost breaks our heart when they fail as one. The ending scene has our heart – the silences, the stories playing side by side. They show us both verticals of the beginning and the ending of a beautiful relationship.

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Dean holds on to Cindy
credits – The Film Guy Stash

The song ‘you and me’ is like an ornament to the plot. It plays when Cindy makes her wedding vows, and also as she puts an end to her marriage. We can almost see the younger self in the eyes of both the characters, a part of them still in love and yearning for the odds to be in their favor, although in vain. The song paints Cindy’s exhaustion and Dean’s guilt, as he reiterates their vows, promising that he was at his worst and it can only get better.

There is no sure way to prepare for the final frames, inevitable as they are. A searing portrait of the disintegration of not just a marriage but, more importantly, the love that once fueled it. In conclusion, If you decide to watch this movie, our words of wisdom to you would be to sit prepared with a box of tissues as this is going to be an emotional rollercoaster.

Similar movies- Revolutionary Road, Marriage story

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