Saw Blue Valentine last week. I really enjoyed the devastatingly accurate portrayal of a relationship coming to an inevitable end. Beautifully shot and filmed by Derek Cianfrance and powerfully acted with restraint and maturity by MIchelle Williams and Ryan Gosling.
The film oscillates between the happy early days of Dean and Cindy's relationship and the painful end six years later. I felt the film dealt with break up (damn sad) scenes on a much more successful level than the more happier moments of their relationship. This isn't so much of a criticism because the crux of the story is what happens when you run out of love for your lover, and it's in these scenes where the film excels, but if the initial romance had been told with the same conviction then it would have lent even greater emotional weight to the couples demise.
That said, there we're elements of Dean and Cindy's blossoming relationship that we're wonderfully done. This is largely down to the choice of music.
This track You and Me an old soul and doo-wop track by an largely unknown group called Penny and the Quaters, is what Dean say's to Cindy is 'Their' song whilst everyone else's 'Song' is lame....
Love the sound of this, can imagine these dudes and that girl singing and playing on one track in one take in some room somewhere a long time ago...music doesn't sound this raw and real too much anymore.
And this scene made me want to reach for my ukulele and learn more than 2 chords on it, Ryan Gosling singing the old Mills Bros classic, You Always Hurt The One You Love
I should probably mention that the trendy lo-fi group Grizzly Bear composed the original soundtrack to the film too....but i didn't really notice it too much!
The best way I can describe Blue Valentine is with a Bruce Springsteen reference (this often the best way to describe and relate to anything). It's like listening to Born To Run and Darkness on the Edge of Town, a track of one then a track of the other....
The restless naive optimism of youth and love create a beautiful passionate show, but this then eventually has to yield to a realization and a reckoning of an adult life filled compromise and limitations, yet also bravery in knowing that sooner or later you have to make a stand somewhere.
But still, those old time songs still sound so sweet!