Blue Valentine Derek Cianfrance

Blue Valentine Derek Cianfrance
In the director's commentary track and the "making of" supplement on the DVD of Blue Valentine, the much ballyhooed and ubiquitous filmmaking methodology – wherein Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams lived together for several weeks between filming the "relationship beginning" and "relationship ending" segments – is reiterated for the four people that missed it during the extensive theatrical PR tour. And, really, aside from a very brave and uncompromising performance from Williams, it's the only noteworthy thing about this banal retread of relationship bookends that regurgitates The Story of Us with less intrigue and vitriol. In theory, the premise of making a film about a studious girl falling in love with an unthreatening slacker boy only to resent him later in life for this very quality has some promise, should it be balanced with a secondary thematic trajectory and a style that reiterates ambivalence. But this tale of love's end has no such complexity. Instead, it's two dull people endlessly talking over each other and occasionally fucking in an NC-17 manner, whether it's protracted oral sex or a seriously upsetting and dispassionate motel romp. Beyond their coitus and endless yammering, there's only a pregnancy drama, a potential workplace fling and a dead dog to sustain the narrative, leaving characterizations and a seriously misguided ukulele sequence to maintain audience interest. Perhaps if there were some sort of sustained drama or unspoken tension amidst the endless washed-out sequences of blasé heteronormative monotony some emotional connection could come from filling in the blanks with unspoken human truths. But nothing is left to the imagination and nothing goes beneath the surface, beyond the glib observation that passion leaves us blind to basic practicality. Maybe this is revelatory and profound to those trapped in their cycle of normality performance, but it's nothing particularly new, nor is it very exciting to watch. (Alliance)