Rewatched Sep 12, 2012
Dan Cole’s review:
A film that really does benefit from Gosling and Williams providing strong performances, Derek Cianfrance's Blue Valentine focuses upon a relationship as it goes from happy to toxic. Cianfrance gives us glimpses of the past that show this pairing coming together. These scenes are bitter-sweet when juxtaposed with the state of the relationship in the present.
However the film often feels contrived. As it moves between the two time periods it never really alludes to the crucial middle section of their relationship. This lessens the emotional impact of the present day scenes as they become superficial. In fact these present day scenes are so elaborately constructed to elicit emotions that they become a chore to watch due to their overt artificial nature. Which is ironic due to how naturalistic Cianfrance attempts to make the film feel. Also the film becomes repetitive with each passing argument and by the latter half the characters are no longer engaging.
It isn't a film to be ignored as the lead performances are well worth watching. But it is a film that is seemingly self-concious in its intent and comes across as if it is trying to hard to be another muted indie hit.