Blue Valentine follows the story of a couple, Dean (Gosling) and Cindy (Williams), over a span of years from the time when they first met to a period later on when all of the issues that have been building up throughout their relationship come crashing down.
We see present day scenes interspersed with flashbacks, building up an overall picture of their years together and what they have been through as well as creating well rounded visions of their characters and personalities. As the film moves on, we see their relationship heating up in the flashbacks just as it is cooling down in the present day, and the juxtaposition of the scenes evokes a strong feeling of regret, as you wonder what could have brought them to this point until some of the scenes towards the end explain it all.
The story is sweet and charming during the flashbacks, but disturbing and heartbreaking during the present day scenes; the sympathy that builds up for Dean as you see more of his tale in particular is extremely well done, as more information comes through that puts earlier events into a different light. The more you know about them the more desperately you want their marriage to work, particularly when it comes to their adorable daughter (Wladyka). Gosling is great as always, going through an astonishing transformation from young and full of hope to old and washed up, while Williams is not far behind.
Blue Valentine will grab hold of your heart, and many of the images – such as Cindy tap-dancing in a doorway or Dean’s conversations with her on the bus – will stick with you long after you finish watching it. Bring tissues if you are easily moved – the ending will have you reaching for them for sure. Definitely recommended for fans of Gosling, indie flicks, and romance.