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Realistic love story hits big screen

 Even if most young couples will find the subject matter too depressing to get their money’s worth on theater tickets, “Blue Valentine” is probably the most realistic portrait of a relationship, and a marriage to hit the American cinema in quite a while.

 It provides a stark contrast to the films generated by the Nicholas Sparks generation, turning the concept of romance and “love conquers all” upside down, and giving the viewer a sense of hope and doom whether for the characters or their relationship.

 The couple is played by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams who has been nominated for an Oscar for her role.

 Dean, played by Gosling, is a contented man whose love for his wife, Cindy (Williams), is strong but frustrated by the chasm opening up between them. Gosling plays him as a kind-hearted, compassionate man who might just be too sensitive to handle failure, and he handles it with confidence and poise.

 Williams plays the less sympathetic of the two, but she still makes the viewer understand Cindy, if not outright sympathize with her.

 Dean is raising Cindy’s daughter as his own, only to have Cindy grow tired of his laid-back personality when she grows more ambitious with her career in medicine.

 Williams gives Cindy a lot of layers, not all of them pleasant, and making the couple’s romance and eventual disintegration all the more believable.

 One element of the film that works to great effect is making it non-linear, with flashbacks interspersed, letting the viewer simultaneously watch the couple fall in love and grow apart.
 While this could seem like an obvious throwback to independent film, in director Derek Cianfrance’s hands, it is seamless.

 It may not score at the box office, and the most press it has gotten is from a temporary NC-17 rating for an oral sex scene, but “Blue Valentine” contains more heart, guts, and skillful storytelling than almost any other film made in the past year.

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