Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Movie Review: Blue Valentine

Actress in a Leading Role - Michelle Williams

According to the Academy: "A performance by an actor or actress in any role shall be eligible for nomination either for the leading role or supporting role categories. If, however, all the dialogue has been dubbed by another actor, the performance shall not be eligible for award consideration. Singing that is dubbed will not affect the performer's eligibility unless it constitutes the entire performanc. The dermination as to whether a role is a leading or supporting role shall be made individually by members of the branch at the time of balloting."

Movie Review: Beware!! Spoilers!!!
I really didn't enjoy this movie too much. I found it very depressing, angering and frustrating without any redeeming value.

*Tangent Alert!* I WANT to experience emotion when I watch a movie. I WANT to feel what the characters feel. I WANT to understand what they feel so that I can understand what happens. But, I NEED to feel these emotions for a purpose. I NEED a point to the story that is told. When I finish a movie and the point seems to be lacking, I don't enjoy the movie. Like a child, I need to know WHY. WHY did you make me experience these emotions? I know there is a reason, I just want to be told, somehow during the movie, why. *Tangent Alert!*

First, before I review anything more than I already have, I need to note, that I was quite surprised when the first scene depicting sex came on the screen. I was not prepared for that, and it really caught me off gaurd. I only found out AFTER I saw the movie that it was rated R - on an appeal. Originally this movie was rated NC-17. When the MPAA says it is rated R On Appeal, it means that, nothing was removed or changed. It is exactly the same movie that it was before the appeal, they've just changed their minds on the rating.

The movie follows the changes of Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) relationship. The movie shows them meeting each other and ultimately deciding to get married and that is contrasted to their current relationship, which is falling apart. I think that the cinematography, film editing and other technical aspects of the film were well done. They really helped to add continuity to the story as it changed time periods (which were approximately 5 to 6 years apart). But, at the end of the movie, I just felt that the story had been told only for the sake of telling the story. There is always a point to telling a story. To give a history, to give a warning, to give a laugh are all reasons stories are told. And all are admirable reasons to tell a story, but I never did figure out why this story was told. And that bothers me. I was angry at the characters, I was angry for the characters and I want that anger to be for a reason and I need the movie to tell me that, and Blue Valentine disappointed much on this level, so despite all of the good to the movie, I left disappointed in the movie that I saw.

Best Actress in a Leading Role Review:
Like so much of this movie, I was disappointed in Michelle Williams performance as Cindy. I watched the movie and found that her character was spiteful and mean without remorse and without reason. As I watched her character over the two different time frames I didn't find much difference in who her character was. Fact of the matter is, having a child, getting married and watching that relationship both develop and fall apart changes a person, and her character never changed. As three dimensional as Nicole Kidman's performance was, Michelle Williams was that flat. I just didn't find that she gave a performance that I could relate to beyond the surface level and for me, that isn't deserving of the Oscar, or even a nomination for that matter. In the end, I found the whole movie lacking.


Sarah @Newlywed and Decorating said...

It's funny- I never heard of this movie until the awards shows came out. I never knew they could do rating R on Appeal- crazy!

Mr. B. said...

See, I totally disagree with your analysis on the performance of Michelle Williams.

I found her portrayal of Cindy to be excellent. I believed that she was an adult woman who lived a life she didn't enjoy and one day realized that fact. She used to be young and beautiful but now she was a little beaten down by life. She used to have high career aspirations, but now she was stuck in a career that didn't challenge her and she worked under a boss that I got the impression she felt like she was better and smarter than.

I felt like she had come to grips with the fact that she married too young, and married a man who was "sophistocated" and "charming", who after 10 years or so was more of a short-tempered ruffian who was not the man at 30 he was at 20. A man who seemed fine with settling because he had no big goals or aspirations, and who seemed quite content with his complacent life.

She she married "down" the social scale, and he married "up", he was happy in their lot in life. She was unhappy because she always imagined that her life would be better (or at least different), and at some point she realized that her husband was holding her back from that, and that without him she could have a different, if not better life.

I felt like this character experienced a whole variety of subtle emotions, and I connected with her because I feel subtle emotions. I don't often have strong feelings one way or another, and I really felt like I could identify with the emotional range (although subdued) of Cindy.

Was this the best performance by an actress this year? Possibly. I have yet to see Black Swan and Winter's Bone, but I think Michelle Williams' performance was better than Annette Benning in "The Kids Are All Right" (in fact I think Julianne Moore should ahve also been nominated) and Nicole Kidman in "Rabbit Hole".

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