Country Valentine

Image by .bobby via Flickr

Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine (2011) deals with the deeply troubled marriage of Dean and Cindy (Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams).

Have you ever seen the Swedish film, The Passion of Anna, by Ingmar Bergman? It, too, has a lot to do with relationships between men and women.  I don’t consider it a success because, for one thing, it’s too talky, but it makes Blue Valentine look utterly lousy by comparison.  At least Bergman (in Passion) cared about character development; Cinafrance doesn’t.  We learn very little about Dean and even less about Cindy.  (Why, really, is their marriage such a failure?  The movie more than hints that it’s all Dean’s fault, but that explains nothing.)

At least Bergman fashioned quite a few powerful scenes; too many of Valentine‘s scenes get boring.  Ross Douthat of National Review finds the couple’s courtship “very charming.”  I don’t.  Usually, when people in movies are shown falling in love, it’s sleep-inducing.

There is a certain degree of artistic strength in Cianfrance’s film, but mainly it’s a draggy work of pseudo-art.