Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean’s (Ryan Gosling) marriage is falling apart. Cindy is frustrated with Dean’s childishness and his lack of initiative despite his talent. Dean wants to do all he can to make the marriage work, but his progress is often set back by his alcoholism and extreme jealousy. All of these issues are further complicated because the two have a daughter: the incredibly adorable Frankie (Faith Wladyka). Dean’s last-ditch effort to save the marriage by taking Cindy to a motel (and leaving Frankie with her grandfather) is intersperced with events from the past that brought the two together in the first place.
Cindy and Dean are both three-dimensional characters—neither fit a complete stereotype, and both of their points of view are understandable. Gosling and Williams’ performances are spot-on; their emotions and actions are raw and believable. I cared for both of them and wanted for them both to somehow get what they were hoping for, making it all the more heartbreaking when I realized (early on) that it was impossible.
There’s no question that Blue Valentine was a well-made movie, but the experience of watching it was not worth it—at least not for me.