BLUE VALENTINE (Cianfrance, 2010) - The problem with sad movies is that you don’t want to watch them when you’re happy, for fear of spoiling the mood, but you also don’t want to watch them when you’re sad, because it’ll made you even sadder. After the one-two punch of 50/50 and ANOTHER EARTH, though, two sad movies that nonetheless left me feeling quite happy (not to have cancer nor to have killed people because of driving drunk, specifically) I figured I could finally tackle BLUE VALENTINE. Surprisingly, I didn’t cry at all. This isn’t a comment on the quality - Gosling and Williams are very, very good, and the movie’s gorgeous to look at - or even on the sadness of the story. It’s just that the structure, intercutting between the start and the collapse of a relationship, invites you to look critically at that start, seeing the fault lines even in seemingly happy beginnings. Thus, the fact that the relationship will end isn’t sad so much as inevitable and even understandable. Both characters are flawed, and not all that compatible, really. I could empathize with Williams’ character more, but I can imagine that different people have different takes. In the end, nobody’s guilty - but all are responsible.
Posted on Saturday, 3 December 2011