Feb 132011
Authors: Jason Berlinberg

Far from cracking even my unconventional top five Valentine’s Day movie list, “Blue Valentine” follows the Tennysonian motto, “it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”

Through a series of flashbacks, the film retraces the unmaking of the relationship between Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy, (Michelle Williams) a couple that gets started off on the wrong foot when Cindy finds out she is pregnant by another man.

Dean does not want a family, but circumstances go beyond his control and he is roped into a situation that is doomed from the start.

Although the content rating decisions of the Motion Picture Association of America are unquestionably controversial, it is understandable that they initially placed an “NC-17” rating on “Blue Valentine.”

Not because there is too much mature content in the film, but because the lead acting performances are so solid that when things start to go sour in the couple’s relationship, it feels like something all too close to reality and is ultimately hard to watch.

One particularly effective scene from the film that will stick with me for a while is when Dean and Cindy are on their first date, singing and dancing to the Ryan Gosling rendition of “You always hurt the one you love.”

The two are standing outside of a store with a heart-shaped wreath hanging on the door, crooning to their own impending fate, “You always hurt the ones you love/ The ones you shouldn’t hurt at all/ You always take the sweetest rose/ And crush it until the petals fall.”

And even though the audience has a sense of what the film’s flashbacks are leading up to, there is no way to stave off the overwhelming despair.

“Blue Valentine” is rated R for authentically relating the ups and downs of a relationship.

Movie reviewer Jason Berlinberg can be reached at verve@collegian.com and can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/jasonberlinberg.

 Posted by at 1:29 pm

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