Xplodera’s review published on Letterboxd:
“What did it feel like when you fell in love?”
Derrek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine is – despite its grand scale of time – a movie about the small events. It’s the quiet tears at the kid’s school performance, sending the kid away to its grandparent for some alone-time, seeing that someone you’ve fell in love with on the bus home, being completely driven by your emotions. And all those things can be joyful, good experiences, or just heart wrenching bad ones - Blue Valentine has just about all of it.
We follow the couple Cindy and Dean as they fall in and out of love and throughout a jump between past and present we’re presented a picture of their relationship which consists of all of the above.
Because in Blue Valentine, nothing is black or white and especially not those two characters. While their actions can be arguable, the both do right and wrong, when it comes to love you can’t follow a map, instructions or tactics – it’s about following your emotions and doing as good as you can even if those emotions can be stupid sometimes. Despite all their flaws, Cindy an Dean still pushes through and maybe that’s where part of the problem lies.
Blue Valentine shows us the sincere and beautiful love, but it also shows us the later times when things like that aren’t as present.
Love needs that constant fight to be alive, it needs oxygen and nursing but no matter how big of a bonfire it is there’s still a chance that it might start die down. The question is, what do you do then? When every desperate attempt with more sticks into the dying fire – like a forced night at a love motel – just ends up burning your fingers. It’s hard to blame Cindy and Dean for this though, because that enormous heat you’ve once felt is obviously something you’d want again even if it hurts you trying to get there.
You could look for every possible reason behind the events, one pretty obvious issue is that Dean and Cindy rarely talk to each other. I’m not saying they’re miming everything, but the lack of dialogue and discussion of potential issues in their relationship seems to worsen several problems, but then again who can really blame them? It’s just such strong emotions, regardless of what kind – when they’re so earth-shattering in love it’s understandable that emotions comes before dialogue, but when that love starts to be replaced by other feelings the lack of dialogue becomes apparent.
Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine is always eager to show both sides of things, he shows us how sex can be an for the moment unbreakable bond between to loving bodies, but also how it turns into a bodily desire in conflict of feelings and thereby becomes destructive. Nothing is easy here, because love isn’t easy in any way. Cindy and Dean is spending their time trying to shake life into something that died and in their life-saving attempts they hurt each other, other people and themselves in a struggle to save something that perhaps is already lost in that burning bonfire.
But Cianfrance’s open ending let us decide for ourselves. Maybe it’s worth every possible wound and struggle if you manage to make that leap together hand in hand. Or will it all end with the endless struggle to no avail?
How much is love worth?