I don't know why I keep gravitating to sad things. It's obnoxious, but it's a comfortable place. I like the sad song, the sad book, the sad people and even sad dogs. So it shouldn't be surprising that after hearing the initial buzz and rumbling, I was looking forward to watching Blue Valentine.
On paper, it sounds too pedestrian and run of the mill. Two people fall in love but then they aren't, and they live in a city, and they're young and dress well, and then they become not-as-young and dress in awful bald eagle pullovers. If you read a synopsis or a summary, you would think, hasn't this movie been made already? Likely. But I don't know if its been made this well.
In our modern world, films about love have become the territory of Nicholas Sparks, where someone has a terrible illness and someone loves that person and then one (or both) of them die. It's a jack-in-the-box of feelings. You turn the crank in one direction, over and over, of course you get the desired emotional response: Jack springs out.
Blue Valentine doesn't need any of the fancy dressings of sailing scholarships and Alzheimer's disease. Patton Oswalt called it "a movie for fucking adults"and not just because it bounced back and forth between an NC-17 and an R rating. This is a film that goes to great lengths to capture reality, and just like reality, it doesn't sit well with you at all. There aren't extreme world-ending stakes or star-crossed lovers, but the way the details of their misery have been presented makes them feel just as heavy.