Directed by Derek Cianfrance
Written by Derek Cianfrance, Carni Delavigne, Joey Curtis
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Ben Shenkman, John Doman, Mike Vogel

An historian friend and his wife had quite different takes on this movie. Because it left out the middle, the years between Gosling and Williams’ meeting and departing, he felt cheated of information he needed to understand the relationship BLUE VALENTINE sets up. This is an interesting question for a film like this. Do we need to spend time in the less dramatic middle? If that’s the least compelling part, should we visit it anyway? But this was a movie about beginnings and ends. I think we can figure out the middle based on our own experiences with other films and books—and perhaps from our own lives.

Plot: Cindy (Williams) and Dean (Gosling) meet in their mid-twenties. Cindy has just broken up with a cad (Vogel) when she meets Dean. The two are somewhat on the same plain in terms of goals and level of maturity. e They are still at the beginning of their relationship when she finds out she is pregnant. Dean gallantly offers to marry her and raise the child. But gallant is really the wrong word because he is exuberant at the idea of it. Five years pass…Dean is still fulfilled with being a father and husband. This and a great deal of alcohol, is enough for him. But Cindy has matured and wants bigger things. For herself and for her husband. eHe is content with his work as a house painter. She, now a nurse, would like to become a doctor. The gulf between their aspirations has grown. They spend a final night together trying to understand what has happened.

This is a fine, if painful, film. Because it jumps back and forth in time, there is little suspense about where it is going. The two performances were outstanding, the dialog completely believable. Highly recommended if you like films that examine a relationship in great detail. I do.

Patti Abbott writes crime fiction short stories. She hosts a look at Forgotten Books every Friday with readers, writers and reviewers at She hopes you’ll join in.