OK, a word about Blue Valentine, which has been courting controversy and getting attention in weird ways recently. I understand the Weinstein brothers’ penchant for showmanship and salesmanship, but I’ve seen the film a couple times, and it soars on its own merits. The whole ratings controversy, about it being slapped with an NC-17? I don’t get it. It’s a very frank and sexual and emotionally pulverizing story of these two people who are not meant to be together — their respective pasts render them incapable of giving the sort of love the other needs, or is hardwired to receive — but it’s not a movie that is over the top or out of bounds or flippant with its sexuality. It reeks of a baited rating, in other words.
Now there’s the poster, which is a grungy, druggy thing. It’s not terrible, don’t get me wrong. It captures a bit of the intensity of the relationship between Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, it’s just that it doesn’t convey the frailty and… essential busted-ness, let’s say, of what’s really under the microscope, which is what Derek Cianfrance’s film is all about.