Blue Valentine (film)
|Directed by||Derek Cianfrance|
|Music by||Grizzly Bear|
|Distributed by||The Weinstein Company|
|Box office||$12.4 million|
Blue Valentine is a 2010 American romantic drama film named after the Tom Waits album of the same name, written and directed by Derek Cianfrance. The film premiered in competition at the 26th Sundance Film Festival. Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne, and Joey Curtis wrote the film, and Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling played the lead roles as well as serving as co-executive producers for the film. The band Grizzly Bear scored the film.
The film depicts a married couple, Dean Pereira (Gosling) and Cynthia "Cindy" Heller (Williams), shifting back and forth in time between their courtship and the dissolution of their marriage several years later. Michelle Williams was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress.
The film starts in the present and in flashbacks looks at how Cindy and Dean met each other. Dean is a young high school dropout, working for a New York City moving company. Cindy is a pre-med student living with her constantly fighting parents and also caring for her grandmother in Pennsylvania. Cindy and Dean meet at Cindy's grandmother's nursing home while Dean is delivering a new resident's furniture. They begin to date. Cindy discovers she is pregnant, and tells Dean that the baby is most likely not his, as her previous boyfriend Bobby ejaculated during intercourse without the use of protection. Dean asks Cindy whether or not she wants to keep the baby. At an abortion clinic, Cindy decides at the last moment to cancel the procedure, and on the bus ride home, Dean tells her he doesn't mind if the child is not his, and that he wants to begin a family with her. Before the wedding, Bobby finds out about Dean, and beats him up.
This narrative of their courtship is intercut with that of a weekend some five years later. They live in rural Pennsylvania and Dean works at painting houses while Cindy is a nurse at a doctor's office. One evening, Dean insists on taking Cindy to a romantic motel two hours away to get away from their lives for a while. In the liquor store Cindy sees Bobby, who asks Cindy if she has ever cheated on her husband. She hesitates, but eventually says no. In the car Cindy tells Dean about seeing Bobby and Dean is upset. At the motel they get into an argument during sex. Cindy is called away early in the morning to work at the clinic. She leaves a note for Dean. At the clinic, Cindy's doctor boss talks to Cindy about a position he had offered her, and asks if she would move closer to work, suggesting that they would be able to spend time together on weekends. Visibly upset, Cindy says she previously thought he was offering her the position because she was good at her job.
Angered that Cindy left the motel without waking him, Dean shows up at the clinic, leading to an argument. Cindy says she wants a divorce. Dean gets into a violent altercation with Cindy's boss, asking if he's the "guy that has been emailing my wife". Cindy's boss fires Cindy. Outside the clinic, Dean tries to persuade her to give the relationship another chance, asking if she wants their daughter to grow up in a broken home. Cindy says she does not want Frankie to grow up with parents who are so hateful to each other. Dean reminds Cindy of their wedding vows, and Cindy apologizes. She asks Dean for "a little space". The film ends as we see him walking away from the house, with Frankie running after him to ask him to stay. Dean tells his daughter to go back to her mom. He tricks Frankie by challenging her to a race in an attempt to send her back to Cindy, and is seen walking away while Cindy picks up a crying and upset Frankie, who is crying "I love him".
- Ryan Gosling as Dean Pereira
- Michelle Williams as Cindy Heller
- Faith Wladyka as Frankie
- John Doman as Jerry
- Mike Vogel as Bobby
- Marshall Johnson as Marshall
- Jen Jones as Gramma
- Ben Shenkman as Dr. Feinberg
Williams was 21 when she received the script and Gosling committed to the production four years later, but filming did not begin until 2009, when Williams was 29, owing to Cianfrance's inability to find financing. The director was also unable to film the "young" and "older" scenes several years apart as he had hoped, again due to lack of money. The film was to be shot in California but production was moved to Brooklyn, New York and Honesdale, Pennsylvania. Williams wanted to stay close to her Brooklyn home to take care of her daughter, Matilda, so the director chose Honesdale due to its proximity to Brooklyn.
Gosling and Williams improvised dialogue; the scene in which their characters wander through New York together was unscripted, for example; the actors—who had both appeared in The United States of Leland (2003) but had not shared scenes—got to know each other during its filming. Before filming the marriage dissolution between the main characters, Gosling and Williams prepared by renting a home, bringing their own clothing and belongings, buying groceries with a budget based on their characters' incomes, filming home movies and taking a family portrait at a local Sears with the actress who played their daughter, and staging out arguments. Cianfrance visited the actors and assisted them in building tension while remaining in character: "One night he told Gosling to go into Williams' bedroom and try to make love to her. Gosling, soundly rejected, ended up sleeping on the couch."
While on the The Hollywood Reporter Director's Roundtable, Derek Cianfrance pointed out that he gave up his entire director's fee to help fund the film: "I mean, it came down to we were exactly my fee short. They paid me and I just paid it back. So I still have to pay taxes on it, you know. So I actually had to pay to make the movie."
Gosling wrote and performed some songs by himself. The band Grizzly Bear composed the score of the film. A soundtrack for the film was released by Lakeshore Records.
One of the film's feature songs, "You and Me", which is presented as the couple's personal song, was originally recorded as a demo by a group called Penny & The Quarters for the obscure Prix Label of Columbus, Ohio in the early 1970s. It was re-released on a compilation album by the Numero Group in 2007 without the members of the group being identified.
The film was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 15, 2010. In Australia, the film was released on December 26, 2010 through Palace Films. In the United States, it was distributed by The Weinstein Company as a limited release on December 29, 2010.
On October 8, 2010, Blue Valentine was officially given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA for American cinemas. This was due to a scene depicting cunnilingus. Gosling accused the MPAA of sexism and misogyny. "There's plenty of oral sex scenes in a lot of movies, where it's a man receiving it from a woman - and they're R-rated. Ours is reversed and somehow it's perceived as pornographic", he stated. The Weinstein Company appealed the decision and aimed for an R without any trims to the film, believing the prior decision would significantly harm the film's potential box office take in the United States. The company's appeal was successful on December 8, 2010, and the film received the desired rating. The film was given an uncut 15 certificate from the British Board of Film Classification.
The film was released on DVD and Blu-ray on May 10, 2011. Special features include an audio commentary with Director Derek Cianfrance, a making-of documentary, deleted scenes, and home movies. The film has grossed $2,625,451 through US DVD sales.
Blue Valentine received positive reviews. Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 87% of 191 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 7.8 out of 10. The critical consensus states: "This emotionally gripping examination of a marriage on the rocks isn't always easy to watch, but Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling give performances of unusual depth and power." On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 81 out of 100 based on 42 reviews. Roger Ebert gave it 3.5/4 stars, writing: "Dean seems stuck. He seems to stay fixed at the initial stage. Can you see the difference between (1) "He loves me as much as he always did," and (2) "He loves me exactly like he always did"?. I've read reviews saying Cianfrance isn't clear about what went wrong as they got from there to here. Is anybody?"
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result|
|Academy Awards||February 27, 2011||Best Actress||Michelle Williams||Nominated|
|Casting Society of America||2011||Artios Award for Outstanding Achievement in Casting - Low Budget Feature – Drama/Comedy||Cindy Tolan, Richard Hicks (LA Casting Consultant), David Rubin (LA Casting Consultant)||Nominated|
|Chicago Film Critics Association Awards||December 20, 2010||Best Actor||Ryan Gosling||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Michelle Williams||Nominated|
|Most Promising Filmmaker||Derek Cianfrance||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||January 16, 2011||Best Actor||Ryan Gosling||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Michelle Williams||Nominated|
|Gotham Independent Film Awards||November 29, 2010||Best Film||Nominated|
|Independent Spirit Awards||February 26, 2011||Best Actress||Michelle Williams||Nominated|
|London Film Critics Circle Awards||February 10, 2011||Best Actor||Ryan Gosling||Nominated|
|Online Film Critics Society Awards||January 3, 2011||Best Actor||Ryan Gosling||Nominated|
|San Diego Film Critics Society Awards||December 14, 2010||Best Actress||Michelle Williams||Nominated|
|San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards||December 13, 2010||Best Actress||Michelle Williams||Won|
|Satellite Awards||December 19, 2010||Best Film||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Ryan Gosling||Nominated|
|Best Actress||Michelle Williams||Nominated|
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- Official website
- Blue Valentine at the Internet Movie Database
- Blue Valentine at Box Office Mojo
- Blue Valentine at Rotten Tomatoes
- Blue Valentine at Metacritic