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Generally favorable reviews- based on 273 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 22 out of 273

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  1. Aug 28, 2014
    Much like life, Blue Valentine is often difficult to match and experience. It's unsettling and heart-wrenching throughout. Almost simultaneously, beauty is able to arise within. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams both give some of their finest performances to date.
  2. Oct 10, 2013
    There's no denying that watching Blue Valentine, a film that tells the story of the complete breakdown of a couple's marriage is not an easy watch (especially for someone just married!) and is certainly an intense, claustrophobic experience, as the audience never really gets a break from the two characters but honestly I was slightly disappointed that the film didn't turn out to be quite the emotional heart-breaker I was expecting. Perhaps in anticipation I had turned my heart to it's complete stone setting. That's not to take anything away from the film's leads who gave brilliantly sincere and convincing performances as the troubled couple. Special comment for the 'Future Room' which with it's tacky futuristic decor and lighting must have been director Derek Cianfrance's ideal shooting location! Expand
  3. Jun 30, 2013
    Contemporary cinema is a juggernaut producer of romance films tracing a couples' elevation of compassion to a seemingly immortal love. This commonplace depiction of love certainly evokes a grandiose falsity: love is easy and love invincibly endures. When the last frame vanishes from the screen, the dominating denouement is of course one teeming with superficial catharsis. With Blue Valentine, it's as if Derek Cianfrance, the film's co-writer and director, felt that the phrase "gag me" had floated through his thoughts one too many times. Just as Dean (Ryan Gosling), the husband of the film's centerpiece marriage, ruefully admits, "Maybe I've seen too many movies, you know, love at first sight?" Among the ubiquity of portrayals of conquering affection, Cianfrance's Valentine audaciously confronts the pernicious obstacles of relationships that other films apprehensively hurdle and dodge.

    When we first meet Dean and Cindy (Michelle Williams), they are married couple parenting a bubbly daughter Franky (Faith Wladyka). The film's first 15 minutes are surely reminiscent of many parents' typical morning, as Dean and Cindy soldier on to their separate jobs, painting and nursing. Nevertheless, as drama strikes the family with the death of their beloved dog, we begin to realize that Dean and Cindy's marriage is in mid crumble.

    The film advances in a non-linear fashion, jumping back and forth from the early formations of the relationship to current time. The juxtaposition of Dean and Cindy's blooming interest for one another against their distinctly deteriorated state proficiently elaborates what Cianfrance intends to address. In one moment, as Cindy skips playfully to Dean's ukelele performance, it is confounding to imagine how this darling unity could possibly be anything else. The time flipping is charged with such a hyper contrast of building ardor and corroding tension that Valentine drags the viewer along a whirl of undulating emotion. Part of Cianfrance's genius is pitting the slowly culminating eruption alongside an equally forceful bonding.

    Let there be no debate, Gosling and Williams astound. Seldom do two characters band to form a relationship that conjures nearly simultaneous heartrending and refreshing sensations with the effectiveness exhibited in Valentine. Williams lassos viewers with her inhabitation of the severe character arc, bridging the slightly younger sanguine persona and the hopeless mother version of Cindy. Gosling has seldom entranced as well as during the hospital scene, the climactic portion of the film. Arriving drunk to Cindy's place of work, Dean has come with no purpose in mind, only to diffuse an enormity of pent frustration. While the tension unfurls in real time, one is desperately tempted to keel over in sickness at Dean's paining as he is stripped down to nothingness at the hand of Cindy's vicious words.

    Indeed, Valentine tackles head on agonizing truths about the vulnerability of love and the mortality of feelings, but the film holds an interesting structure. The flashbacks collectively represent a time span of multiple months, but the scenes in current time sum to just over a single day. Years of time sit in between the two narratives. This formula makes for a truly enlightening cinematic experience, for without it, the film would simply be a story of meaningless patchwork. The film's gaping hole is fitting; Valentine does not intend to dole out all the answers. If it did, the film would take a seat tantamount to a myriad of others in the romance genre. The history of Dean and Cindy is one of sophisticated love, one that unassumingly reaches into the dark, unknowing of what is to come.
  4. Jun 22, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Finally, a romantic film that has not a happy ending. I was waiting for a movie like Blue Valentine for many years. I liked the originality of the film and Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams should have won that oscar. I like the fact that it is realistic as many romantic movies go with a happy ending which is often bad and lame. Blue Valentine is a great movie and maybe one of the best of its kind Expand
  5. May 27, 2013
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. blue valeintine was the sad,honest movie of love.the love which sopuse to be endless,but it is ended long ago,at least for her.
    the performances where great and flash backs to the past were so believable.i creied at the end,not for the two of them but for the beautiful baby girl who deserves a lot more. I think that was a selfish decesion of the mother to decide to raise her without father,she didnt have this right.all she had to do was give everything a second chance
  6. Apr 27, 2013
    Realistic and honest, and both beautiful and tragic, Blue Valentine grips you and never lets go. Gosling and Williams give astounding performances, truly heartbreaking, devastating performances. This film is unforgettable and powerful. One of the best films of 2010!
  7. Feb 22, 2013
    Tension is the name of the game for exhaused lovers Ryan Gosling and Williams. The film cuts and back and forth in time filling in the gaps. The authenticity of this film cannot be understated.
  8. 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.
  9. Jan 14, 2013
    "Blue Valentine" portrayed all the aspects of relationships other films are too afraid to capture; the raw emotion of vulnerability to the apathy of love lost. With its laid-back direction and cinematography, Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling give a performance that really makes you think.
  10. 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.

  11. Jan 8, 2013
    Beautiful.It shows two different parts of the relationship. The only really big criticism I have is to not know what happened between them that led to this.
  12. Nov 17, 2012
    Heart-warming in its beauty, yet heart-wrenching in its tragedy, Blue Valentine is the perfect romantic drama. The chemistry between Gosling and Williams sizzles and crackles, while everyone and everything else is just a nullified rush of noise.
  13. May 17, 2012
    Blue Valentine is well made but it does suffer from uneven pacing. However in the end you feel for these characters and so deperately want them to find love. It is Gosling and Williams that carry this film because much of it seemed unscripted and was left to the actors to fill in the blanks and this technique works marvelously.
  14. Jan 26, 2012
    Strong acting with a competent script, what could go wrong? Not always the easiest movie to watch since it's about the breakdown of a relationship, and one where the power is WAY out of balance. Sad. Not certain who the target audience is, but, if you like drama, there's plenty here with wonderful performances from Michelle Williams and Ryan Gossling. Some scenes had me crawling out of my skin. The one minor detail I didn't personally care for were the number of tight shots, which arguably added to not only the tension, but a sense of voyeurism / viewing from a safe distance. Nothing here is over the top, everything is nicely understated, and pushed just far enough, which is never easy to accomplish. Nicely done. Expand
  15. Nov 30, 2011
    Blue Valentine is a masterpiece. Why? Because there are amazing performances by Williams and Gosling, naturalistic script and shot. The movie shows the real life.
  16. Nov 16, 2011
    I am so tired of the mid-late 90's documentary film approach of what could otherwise be a captivating story. Personally, I just can't absorb myself in the story or even connect with the characters when you are so obviously looking over someone's shoulder at their life. I watch movies to escape my reality for a brief window in time and the film style used here actually distances the viewer from the story rather than pull them in. Don't let my opinion turn you away though, as they don't use this approach across the board but it is present enough to ruin the experience for this fan of escapism. Expand
  17. Nov 13, 2011
    The movie focus is the depiction of a broken marriage between two working class people,Dean and Cindy.What could have been a great movie becomes a failed occasion to portray an emotionally absorbing tale of an ended love story(as it was in a terrific movie such "Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind"). Despite the movie boasts great performances by the two leading actors,particularly by Williams,the big problem is the lack of a solid script that doesn't offer the chance to know about the characters and their love story.I would not call them insignificant informations because when you decide to make a movie about a couple and their fallen marriage you have to provide the audience of a plausible explanation of their relationship.Without that we struggle to be involved with the two leads.With "Blue Valentine" we exactly don't know why they fell in love and why after years they can't stand each other and why their love ends.We are left with a series of disjointed bouncing back and forth scenes of their former happy days that have not much to say,except that they go quite well together in the first chapters and scenes of their declined relationship.As I said before,the acting is solid(to compensate the holes in the script).Ryan Gosling was very good but it's Michelle Williams who gives a great performance that is the best thing of the entire movie.She deserved her Oscar nomination for her outstanding performance.Gosling portrays a man who tries to understand why her wife doesn't love him anymore and a good father although he has a scantly work that clearly makes Cindy feel quite disappointed and he is often drunk.I suspect that Cianfrance takes the side of the female lead although she is the most unlikeable of both of the leading characters and due to the troublesome script we hardly understand why she was in love and why she became so cold towards her husband.I simply found "Blue Valentine" the most overrated movie of 2010 and I don't know if this movie wouldn't have struggled to win many praises if it wasn't for the Weinstein campaign.My vote of the movie is 5/10. Expand
  18. j30
    Sep 20, 2011
    Great performances by Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling makes the movie worthwhile.
  19. Sep 17, 2011
    Very good movie. I do not like drama movies, but if they are good, I can stand them. This movie is slow, but I do not mind slow movies. It is not for one who just wants action and a fast pace movie. But it really does a good job showing the contrast in the couples life.
  20. Sep 16, 2011
    Mesmerizing picture of love and marriage. Magnificent performance by two its lead, Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Love, even its hurting you, it still beautiful, and... never try to surrender with the tests.
  21. Aug 29, 2011
    Blue Valentine is such a richly alive piece of cinema that I canâ
  22. 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
  23. Jul 26, 2011
    Feels like real life, I strongly sympathized with both characters at different points. The movie is totally absorbing. Both actors do an absolutely fantastic job!
  24. Jul 6, 2011
    blue valentine is too much; too real, too close to the heart, too close for comfort. it not sterilized and the rawness of the movie - fueled by great acting and cinematography - may be more than what audiences can take, especially if they can relate on a personal level to the inexplicable demise of the bonds that bind and define us.
  25. Jul 1, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Blue Valentine is the slow rise and fall of a relationship. I'm sure some people watched this and thought "why would anyone want to watch a downer movie like this.?" Well I think because it's a honest portrayal of what can happen in a relationship and some people find that hard to watch. Movies like this aren't full of bells an whistles and don't leave you with happy feelings at the end. What it does do is a give you a look into the birth and destruction of a relationship and how we are capable of hurting the ones closest to us. This will be too close for comfort for most people. Expand
  26. Jun 26, 2011
    The film is definitely bleak but not at all depressing.It shows the development and collapse of a relationship in a scarily realistic way.Gosling and Williams are superb.It's not an easy watch but it's emotionally rewarding.
  27. Jun 19, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Beautifully acted with compelling moments. Gosling plays the underdog romantic victim (w/ or w/out a substance abuse problem) very well. (i.e.The Notebook, Half Nelson, Lars & the Real Girl) There's the suckerpunch of comedic expectation that is woven with flaw and vulnerability to create an emotional stronghold on the audience. At every turn there was unpalatable devastation that never let up. I left feeling like I'd been hit by a truck. A few distractions: Williams had an impeccably maintained manicure and they owned a newish, seemingly well-maintained car. It really didn't make sense for a couple that seemingly struggled to make ends meet. Overall, I think Gosling truly deserved an Oscar nomination for this role. There were several remarkable key scenes: overwhelm and anger on the bridge, tormented begging after the fight at the end, and especially the desperate search for his wedding ring in the bushes). I'm not in the film industry, but as a viewer, Gosling's performance made the space between my eyes and nose hurt--that sort of sting before you might cry...perpetual upset. Expand
  28. Jun 16, 2011
    It's quite slow, yes, but it's also quite beautiful - just like life. It's a great romance and well done acting. The credits on this movie were also exceptional. A very good movie.
  29. May 31, 2011
    Raw, real, and unapologetic in it's story, acting, and emotional resonance. This is not a film that one can watch over and over again, but the performances are superb, especially with Gosling. One of the year's finest films!
  30. Lyn
    May 29, 2011
    The fact that these actors seem so real makes this movie-watching experience pretty miserable -- different, from, for example, a movie like "The Break-Up" in which you never believe a moment of the Vince & Jennifer hook-up and so can't be much bothered when the "relationship" fails. I though Gosling and Williams were equally terrific; I know she got the Oscar nomination, but suspect she got extra points for nudity. One problem I had was that, with the back-and-forth between the beginning and bitter end of their relationship, we lose some understanding we needed about how they coped in the middle. In this some of the reviews & previews are misleading . . . it's not about a relationship that started out wonderful and went downhill. It's about a relationship that started out with big, serious problems and somehow endured for a while. Expand

Universal acclaim - based on 42 Critics

Critic 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: Rick Groen
    Jan 28, 2011
    Two superb actors etch an unflinching portrait of a young marriage doomed never to grow old.
  3. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Jan 27, 2011
    Sounds depressing, but Blue Valentine is a reminder that well-measured and expertly acted pain is as thrilling to watch as 3-D spectacle.