Universal acclaim - based on 42 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 260 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Blue Valentine is the story of love found and love lost told in past and present moments in time. Flooded with romantic memories of their courtship, Dean and Cindy use one night to try and save their failing marriage. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star in this honest portrait of a relationship on the rocks. (The Weinstein Company) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 35 out of 42
  2. Negative: 0 out of 42
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Scott
    Jan 28, 2011
    It is beautiful, and it is difficult to watch. It is heartwarming, and it is heart-wrenching. It is absorbing, and it's unsettling.
  2. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Dec 29, 2010
    Halfway into Blue Valentine, a work so beautifully acted and emotionally honest it is my choice for best movie of the year, there's an amazing flashback scene you hope never ends.
  3. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    Jan 6, 2011
    Williams plays this tired, disillusioned, chronically angry woman without a trace of actorly vanity. It's a performance noteworthy not just for its intensity but for Williams' ability to communicate inner experience at a micro-level of detail.
  4. Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    Dec 29, 2010
    Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams give two of the most explosive and emotionally naked performances you will see anywhere. Just know you're in for a workout.
  5. 80
    Blue Valentine leaves you with the shattering vision of its truest victim-the one who'll someday look for safety in places it might not be. And the psychodrama will go on and on …
  6. Reviewed by: Michael Phillips
    Jan 6, 2011
    It's Williams you never question, who makes every detail and close-up and impulse natural. She's spectacularly good.
  7. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    Dec 21, 2010
    Ultimately, the heavy-handed and annoyingly obvious aesthetic wears thin.

See all 42 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 53 out of 64
  2. Negative: 7 out of 64
  1. Jan 17, 2011
    Absolutely devastating. This story stuck in my head for hours after the film ended. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling give the best performances in their short but wonderful careers, and Derek Cianfrance's script and direction so clearly come from a personal place that you can't help but feel emotionally drained afterwards. Expand
  2. Aug 5, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This is already in my top 10 - definitely one of my favorites. I absolutely love this movie. It's really beautiful to me in so many ways. The brilliant cinematography complimented the realism and truth in the acting. Gosling and Williams have such passionate, beautiful, and tragic chemistry and it really flows through the entire movie. The plot of intertwining past and present is very smart and, despite what one might think, does not confuse the audience - it helps to give meaning and emotional value to events throughout the film. The ending is my favorite part. With the audience knowing in their hearts that it's truly over between the two characters, they're still hanging on to that one shred of hope that they'll somehow work it out. The mise-en-scène of the last few minutes of the film going into the credits is complimented with its perfect match of cinematography to convey a beautiful representation of the Americanism in the separation of Dean and Cindy. The wonderful use of a telephoto lens to separate the planes of the characters and the scenery really makes the scene. When Dean is walking away, the fireworks present a great symbolism of America and how divorce is very American - a lens that was previously used in the film to bring these two characters together on the screen is now used to tear them apart on the screen. In the final moment when Frankie runs to her dad but is sent back to her mom, Dean and Cindy are never on the same plane on the screen. When Dean is in focus, Cindy is blurred, and vice versa - this is just a really creative, subtle, yet brilliant way to show these two characters being separated after all they've been through. I really grew to love and care for these characters. Blue Valentine made me smile, it made me laugh, it made me cry - it got inside my heart and tugged at its strings in almost every way possible. I give this 10 stars because I could not find a flaw in the film if I tried. Expand
  3. Feb 5, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. The dog isn't moving; he's not the only thing that's dead, but she'll deal with her blue heart later on. First things first, there's the blue dog to deal with. Cindy(Michelle Williams) discovers him on the other side of the highway, presumably hit by a moving vehicle, or maybe it was fate. Perhaps the floodgates were overdue for an opening. Little does she know it, but her bad morning is only going to get worse. While the still body lies in the trunk, Cindy walks down a deserted school hallway; it's a walk of shame, the finishing touch on a life gone horribly wrong. Inside the crowded auditorium, her daughter's pageant is already in progress. She's late, in more ways than one, and not for the first time. Six years ago, when her younger self was late, Cindy almost had an abortion. She was going to be somebody, a doctor; she really should be somewhere else, but the baby was his, so she called off the procedure. The nurse has been living with the consequences of that decision ever since. She's late again, but this time, it's a relief. Her pageant, this marriage in trouble, isn't worth saving. When Cindy breaks the news to Dean(Ryan Gosling), the directionless man she had wedded out of love, the broken woman accouters him with the ammo he needs for retaliation. Dean knows that he disappoints her. The housepainter berates her inexorably for not locking the dog's gate. It's his golden opportunity to point out that Cindy can be a f*ck-up too. Accused of being a child just hours ago, due to his lack of gravitas at the breakfast table, Dean proves her right, when instead of being there at a moment of crisis to provide comfort and understanding for her animal-related transgression, he plays the blame game, like some petulant boy, and makes his wife cry even harder. Outside the school, Frankie(Faith Wladyka) asks about the dog, and rather than give her a straight answer, he tells his daughter that the family pet decided to head out west to try his luck at being a "movie dog". Cindy says nothing; she lets her husband's sugar-coated lie hang in the air. Any questions that Frankie may have concerning life and death will have to be postponed 'til a later date. For now, there are more pressing matters to deal with. Unbeknownst to Dean, but by evoking Hollywood, and more pointedly, dreams, he opens up a can of worms; he tears the lid off of Pandora's Box. Back at the house, as a home movie featuring Megan plays on the television in memoriam, Cindy makes a connection, and suddenly, their marriage is irrevocably wrecked, overrun with worms and a laundry list of unmanageable problems. Harking back to Dean's rehashing of a Dino-centric episode of "The Flintstones", she can plainly see, fiction be damned, how Megan never made it to Hollywood. It serves as a painful reminder that the once-promising medical student never lived up to her potential either, dropping out of college like she did after making her future husband's acquaintance. And now, Cindy pays attention to her blue heart, as she fights the interspecies transferrence with all her might. She doesn't want to end up like the dog, whom Dean buried in the backyard of their modest rental. Cindy becomes deathly afraid of her husband's shovel; she doesn't want to live and die here. She doesn't want to be next. Therefore, Dean's timing couldn't be any worse when he makes reservations at a cheap motel, where they spend a night in the ironically named Future Room, since the future is both a present which her past self could never have imagined, and a myriad of hypotheticals that Cindy wants to tackle on her own. "Blue Valentine", a movie whose narrative goes backward and forward in time, shows how hindisight can sometimes be one big fallacy. The evidence shows that she was powerless to his charms. The flashbacks tell the story of her doom. After all, the warning signs were there, absolute dead giveaways that Dean was the rebound, the antidote to her college boyfriend, a real jerk, and not the man she was supposed to marry, but alas, whom she ended up loving too much. Memories are ephemeral, they don't pay the rent and put food on the table, and Cindy is paying the price for getting involved with a lovable, but shiftless townie, and yet, she has these memories, moments of pure bliss that some people may never get to experience. For instance, her grandmother, who answers in the negative to Cindy's question about ever having been in love. From the old woman's point of view, Cindy is blessed. And from our point of view, we may feel the same way, too. Expand
  4. May 20, 2011
    Love it. Very good screenwriting for this film. The story line is very good. Very good acting in this movie. This movie should of got nominated for an Oscar. I don't know why this movie up for best movie. Really good movie that i suggest every body should watch. It keep you into the movie. Very good romance and drama movie. also comedy this movie had some funny parts in it. I think everybody will enjoy a movie like this. Expand
  5. Jan 13, 2013
    The two central performances from Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are truly excellent. They take the audience through a whole range of emotions and back again! The film is shot using quite a lot of hand-held camera; but not too shaky; which makes for a realistic feel to the drama. To me it seemed a little odd to show just the beginning and the end of the relationship; maybe I missed something, but I wanted to know what happened in the middle. Could be it was doomed from the start. I enjoyed this one and would watch it again (making sure I was in the mood first); definitely worthy of my recommendation.

  6. Feb 6, 2013
    I think the most accurate description of this film would be "beautifully depressing". Definitely a movie that makes you think, especially after its conclusion. Expand
  7. Feb 13, 2011

See all 64 User Reviews


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