Monday, January 24, 2011

settling.

Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling in Blue Valentine.
Blue Valentine is a heartbreaking look at the inevitable destruction of romance and love. Okay, that's a little harsh--it's more like life slapping you in the face a bit, really. For those who haven't seen it, I won't spoil the plot. Instead, you can read about it over in the New U in Mallory's review from last week. Go ahead.

Moving on...what I both liked and didn't like about Blue Valentine as opposed to its more mature counterpart Revolutionary Road is how much the filmmakers force the audience to feel. Revolutionary Road felt more distant in time/space; Blue Valentine, felt more real because it was more of a "that's the fucking future" than the 1955-setting of RR. It also felt real because there were many parts that were familiar, and that's the most depressing thing about those sad films and sad songs and sad stories we hear from time-to-time. The things we relate to are what affect us the most. It stirs up emotions we know we have inside of our hearts, yet can't always seem to access.

I wouldn't call myself the most romantic person in the world, nor would I consider myself a heedless optimist. I'm afraid I haven't been the best person to discuss love and relationships with, but I think my concept of marriage has been skewed by recent events and observations. My first failed marriage aside, I honestly can't see myself as a family person, though Kristen said she thinks I'm most suited for family life. "You'd make an awesome mom," she said the other night. "I can tell by the way you act with friends and other people." I don't know if that's something I can necessarily get on board with, though the one thing that struck me as odd while I was back home last and going through old family photos was this desire to form and love a family as much as my own mother did for us. "At the end of the day, sometimes all you have left is family," she said once, and I've never forgotten that.

But then, of course, comes a film like Blue Valentine to make me re-think that. But, honestly, I don't think it's scared me away from marriage completely. I don't really feel any differently about it now than I did two days ago. I know that right now I'm not prepared for all that stuff and, hell, I might not even be ready for it in a year or two or three. The fact that I wasn't as affected by BV, though, makes me feel okay about life though, because it means I don't have unrealistic expectations--the kinds I used to have and the kinds that have killed relationships for me in the past--about love anymore.

Having said all of that, I would recommend Blue Valentine as a film because it's a good slap across the face to the dreamers out there who think life is a fairytale with no bumps and bruises along the way. I'm not saying we're all destined to be bitter and alone, but we need to expect some detours along the way to our happily ever afters.

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