This was easily the best film of last year. Perhaps this is just my preference, but cannot seem to find much wrong with Derek Cianfrance’s painfully honest portrayal of young love lost, and the two lead performances by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are utterly flawless. That this film didn’t get more attention is a sad statement about the state of cinema and what is popular, because few films offer as much as Blue Valentine.
Blue Valentine follows about 24 hours in the life of couple Dean and Cindy (Gosling and Williams), interspersed with footage from their past which provides context for the relationship. Their day begins with the bad news that the family dog has vanished, which is first discovered by their adorable little girl. Although Dean and Cindy don’t seem to be getting along very well any longer, we see through flashbacks that their relationship began very passionately. This makes the inevitability of the future so much bleaker.
Williams was honored with a Best Actress nomination at the Academy Awards, but Gosling did not get nearly enough attention for this spectacular performance. This is a crowning achievement in a career already full of some of this generation’s most honest performances. Gosling may not have received a nomination, but it doesn’t much matter. He will have many more in his future.