Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) are married with a little girl. We find them at a spot in their relationship where one is content, Dean, and one is moving on, Cindy. Interspersed with flashbacks, this cinematic tale leads us to discover the joys of love at first sight and the bliss of falling into one other’s arms for better or worse, for the rest of their lives only to return to the present and the difficulties of accepting the end to what was supposed to last forever. Dean has never finished high school and seems perfectly content to live out the rest of his life as is; a good father to his daughter, a manual labour job and continuing the relationship he had with his wife at the beginning. Cindy has gotten an education; she’s become a nurse and obviously she thinks there may be more to life, more to be had out of life than the status quo.
Therein lies the rub. What works in the beginning may not work later on. What works is sometimes the product of circumstances and if those circumstances change, what works stops working. Growing apart is not good but it is worse if in reality only one is growing apart. The old saying goes, "’Tis better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all" however during the "lost part" – or should I say the losing part – things can get pretty glum. Okay, how about pretty bad, ugly and sometimes violent.
Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 88%. Both lead actors have been nominated for a Golden Globe in the 2011 ceremonies to be held on January 16.
I would certainly recommend the film. It is poignant and will make anyone think about their own relationship experiences in life. It is both funny and sad listening to Ryan Gosling’s rendition of You always hurt the ones you love with him on ukulele. It makes you smile at the charm of love of first sight and gives you a tear at the melancholy of the inevitable break-up.
– 1944?; words by Allan Roberts and music by Doris Fisher
You always hurt the one you love,
The one you shouldn’t hurt at all.
You always take the sweetest rose,
And crush it till the petals fall.
You always break the kindest heart,
With a hasty word you can’t recall.
So, if I broke your heart last night,
It’s because I love you most of all.
Yes, if I broke your heart, it’s because I love you most of all.
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Rotten Tomatoes: Blue Valentine: 88%
Wikipedia: Blue Valentine
Alfred, Lord Tennyson – 1850
The Story behind It: These lines are a part of In Memoriam, which Tennyson wrote after the death of his beloved friend Arthur Hallam. Tennyson had met Hallam in 1829, when they were both students at Trinity College, Cambridge. Hallam’s sudden death in 1833 threw Tennyson into a tormented and near-suicidal state. In Memoriam was not published until 1850, the same year that Tennyson was chosen poet laureate of England. Samuel Butler paraphrased the saying in The Way of All Flesh (1903): "’Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all."