DVD: Blue Valentine (15)
Friday 13 May 2011
Derek Cianfrance's Oscar-nominated drama is an unapologetic downer with two outstanding performances from Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling – US indie cinema royalty.
They star as Cindy and Dean, a couple whose relationship is disintegrating in rural Pennsylvania. Cindy hasn't locked the gate, allowing their three-year-old daughter's dog to get out. The mutt duly snuffs it, and their relationship looks similarly doomed. We're privy to the blossoming of their love, he's a romantic who believes in "love at first sight", she has just escaped an abusive relationship. No one is content here. Cindy's parents hate each other; her grandma confesses that her husband "didn't really have any regard for me as a person". There's no light, only toxicity. Dean, a part-time removal man, starts out with plenty of hair, an endearing smile and a cocky swagger, three years later his hair has thinned, his back has drooped and he's sniping at everything. He tries to re-ignite their love with a night in "The Future Room" of a seedy hotel, but only succeeds in humiliating himself in one of the most excruciating sex scenes in American cinema's history.
For the first 30 minutes your sympathies fluctuate slightly between the pair, but in fairness it's pretty clear, after a particularly painful conversation about a former lover on a trip back from the shops, that you're going to side with Cindy, rather than the hard-drinking (he drinks before work), directionless Dean.
A defiantly anti-date movie and a staggeringly convincing performance from Williams.
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who ran away after argument with her parents
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 Gay teenager 'forced to have sex with his own mother' to 'cure' his homosexuality, campaigners in India say
- 4 Charles Kennedy 'had better judgement drunk than many sober politicians' says Ian Hislop
- 5 Fifa corruption: Qatar says investigations are racist, anti-Arab and show 'ugly face' of countries who lost 2022 World Cup bid
Game of Thrones season 5 episode 9, The Dance of Dragons: Jon Snow returns to The Wall after epic Battle of Hardhome
Touch-screen Teletubbies say hello: Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po are back, now with smart technology
Black Angel: Long lost Star Wars precursor to be made into crowdfunded feature film
Game of Thrones, season 5: heavy metal rockers Mastodon cameo as Wildlings in Hardhome
Environmental Photographer of the Year 2015 award: Shortlisted images go on show
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers