DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: DVD Features Drama Deconstructing Failed Marriage
Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy’s (Michelle Williams) marriage was doomed almost from the start. At the time that they met, she was a promising premed student at a college in rural Pennsylvania; while he was a high school dropout barely eking out a living a world away in Brooklyn.
Their paths crossed quite by coincidence when Dean was sent to Scranton by his moving company to help an elderly gentleman (Melvin Jurdem) relocate to a nursing home on the very same day Cindy was there visiting her ailing grandmother (Jenn Jones). For Dean, it was love at first sight, and when he still couldn’t get her out of his mind a month later, he finds an excuse to return to town to try to track her down.
The incurable romantic serendipitously spots the object of his obsession on a bus and wins her heart by serenading her with a song. He had no idea, however, that she not only already had a hunky boyfriend, Bobby Ontario (Mike Vogel), but that she also was pregnant by the popular big man on campus.
Nonetheless, Cindy takes Dean home to meet the parents (John Doman and Maryann Plunkett) who are obviously underwhelmed by their daughter’s dating a chain-smoking underachiever with not much of a future. But their obvious disappointment does nothing to discourage the hopelessly-smitten suitor from popping the question that very night.
And when Cindy accepts the proposal, the mismatched pair proceeds to embark on a disastrous six-year relationship marked mostly by incessant arguing and a basic inability to communicate effectively. The real victim here is the baby, Frankie (Faith Wladyka), who didn’t ask to be raised by such a dysfunctional couple.
Thus, “Can this marriage be saved?” is the burning question at the center of Blue Valentine, a flashback flick directed by Derek Cianfrance. Michelle Williams earned an Oscar nomination for her super-realistic performance as a wife increasingly embittered by both motherhood and the burden of being the breadwinner. And her co-star Ryan Gosling is just as convincing in his capacity as Dean, a chuckleheaded slacker with lots of shortcomings.
Unfortunately, this much-ballyhooed movie has a fundamental flaw, namely, that it’s no fun to watch. For, far be it from me to recommend that anyone invest in a relentlessly-unpleasant deconstruction of a marriage that was never meant to be.
Fair (1 star)
Rated R for profanity, nudity, violence and graphic sexuality.
Running time: 114 Minutes
Distributor: Anchor Bay Entertainment & The Weinstein Company
DVD Extras: Commentary by director Derek Cianfrance and co-editor Jim Helton, “The Making of” documentary, deleted scenes, and a home movie.
Friday, May 13, 2011
DVD Review by Kam Williams