Blue Valentine

Blue Valentine

The past and present become wrapped inseparably in this tale about the beginning and end of a love affair. Away from their daughter for one night, Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) try to save their failing marriage. 3.7 out of 5 based on 15 reviews
Blue Valentine


Certificate 15
Genre Drama, Romance
Director Derek Cianfrance
Cast Michelle Williams, John Doman, Mike Vogel Ryan Gosling
Studio Optimum Releasing
Release Date January 2011
Running Time 120 mins

The past and present become wrapped inseparably in this tale about the beginning and end of a love affair. Away from their daughter for one night, Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) try to save their failing marriage.

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The New Yorker

Anthony Lane

All of this demonstrates that “Blue Valentine” is that rare creation: a love story that doesn’t shy away from sex, ignore its consequences, or droop into pointless fantasy. The result is adult entertainment as it should be...


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The Daily Telegraph

Sukhdev Sandhu

Blue Valentine reminds me of the title of a song the Crystals once sang: He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss). It’s a terribly sad film, wounded and wounding in equal measure. Yet it’s also so acute, well realised and beautifully acted that it feels treasurable. The hurting it delivers is a gift, an act of kindness.


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Time Out

Dave Calhoun

There’s a lightness to the whole enterprise – loose direction, easy dialogue, gentle editing – that sits well with the heaviness of the material. The film’s episodic structure means that it’s heavy on events and emoting, but it’s not all extreme joy or misery, and there are lovely scenes... It’s a bittersweet, affecting film that screams of smart minds both behind and in front of the camera.


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The Times

Kate Muir

The film is devastatingly honest, romantic, difficult, and ultimately worth every shot. Gosling and Williams are bewitchingly attractive at first, and then age prematurely as domesticity dismantles their relationship.


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Total Film

Matt Mueller

A raw slog through one couple’s marital misery, but make no mistake: the combined talents of its stars will rip your heart out.


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Todd McCarthy

...a meaty, strongly realized dramatic work of considerable accomplishment...


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The Los Angeles Times

Betsy Sharkey

What the filmmaker has understood best is that the conflict is as much about social class as love, and in doing so has made a film that is more penetrating and salient than it probably set out to be... That meandering dialogue can be difficult to control, and at times the film feels as if the director has stepped away from the vehicle, leaving it to veer off the path. Still, it's an experiment that works more than it fails by giving Gosling and Williams both the motive and the means to create something extraordinary...


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Empire Magazine

Nev Pierce

A lack of understanding and forgiveness is part of what unmoors the marriage so convincingly portrayed by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams... Hardly a date movie, perhaps, but much more useful to your relationships than a thousand viewings of Sleepless In Seattle. Cheaper than therapy and just as provocative. You won’t see a more honest movie in 2011 — and that’s a promise.


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The Financial Times

Nigel Andrews

As a debut feature this is an intermittently flawed but hugely promising movie.


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The Independent on Sunday

Jonanthan Romney

There's a nice fluidity and detachment to the film, and in the mournfully baroque score by US band Grizzly Bear... I'd place a caveat emptor on Blue Valentine as date viewing, but it's a persuasive and intelligent piece. As marital dramas go, it's not John Cassavetes by a long chalk, but it's film of grit and grace.


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The Observer

Philip French

Both Williams and Gosling give excellent, detailed performances, at once spontaneous and carefully considered, playing people who cannot understand or properly articulate their position... In some ways Blue Valentine is a lower-class version of Annie Hall without the wry humour and Allen's acceptance that nothing truly lasts, and that love inevitably fades.


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The Guardian

Peter Bradshaw

Derek Cianfrance's film is a sombre, painful portrait of a toxic marriage, often touching and sometimes moving, though occasionally contrived and self-conscious in its effects. There are powerfully committed performances here from its stars...


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The Independent

Anthony Quinn

But however admirable the acting and Cianfrance's willingness to leave things unspoken, it remains a draggy experience, with too little for the eye and the mind to feed on. Reticence is both its strength and its weakness. The couple's expectations are different, but not so different as to make them irreconcilable... The film does not yield enough dramatic incident to back up its emotional meaning, namely: this marriage cannot go on.


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The New York Times

A. O. Scott

Cindy and Dean remain, for all their sustained agony and flickering joy, something less than completely realized human beings. Mr. Cianfrance’s ingenious chronological gimmick, coupled with his anxious, clumsy plotting, leaves them without enough oxygen to burst into breathing, loving life.


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The Daily Mail

Chris Tookey

The film is miserable enough to have its admirers and is ­certain to attract award ­nominations for the actors, but the screenplay doesn’t probe deeply into either ­psychology or society, and the picture is dull, depressing and unpleasant. 


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