The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: The Weinstein Company - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 112 minutes
Genre: Drama, Romance
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.66:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams and John Doman
Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Music by:Joe Rudge
Written by: Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne & Joey Curtis
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 10, 2011
"A Love Story."
Blue Valentine is an intimate, shattering portrait of a disintegrating marriage. On the far side of a once-passionate romance, Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) are married with a young daughter. Hoping to save their marriage, they steal away to a theme hotel. We then encounter them years earlier, when they met and fell in love—full of life and hope. Moving fluidly between these two time periods, Blue Valentine unfolds like a cinematic duet whose refrain asks, where did their love go?
Daring to be different takes some guts. Quite often it leads to failure, or ends up just being (for lack of a better term), different. There are the rare occasions where it pays off, and we get treated to a film like 'Blue Valentine'. There are no neat bows on this package; don't expect excitement, special effects, happiness and the usual Hollywood fodder. Expect a gritty, real life look at a failing relationship, with amazing acting, direction and cinematography.
'Blue Valentine' opens up in the present time, as a married couple with a grade school aged daughter, Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling), are finding out the family dog is missing. Its a metaphor for the moment Cindy realizes the love is missing, as is the moment she finds the dog dead on the side of the road, which is the major moment she realizes this missing love will never be coming back. The film jumps back and forth in time, showing the present sad state of their marriage, then contradicting it with flashbacks about their meeting, courtship, romance and marriage. The film is claustrophobic and raw, really handing us true emotion, thanks to the accolade warranting performances by Williams and Gosling. Director Derek Cianfrance did an amazing job weaving through past and present, new, passionate love and its gradual deterioration, as well as the euphoric happiness of early love and how tough it is to keep it together, forever.
'Blue Valentine' is challenging, making the viewer question their relationships... what makes them work or fail, and how things can go bad when not tended to. It pulls this off while being subtle about things, hardly ever being in your face, never answering these question, and just letting us be in the room as it unfolds. For such a depressing look into some of these peoples worst moments, I found myself engaged by its pitch-perfect casting and acting. If you are ready to take a chance, you might just find 'Blue Valentine' as rewarding a watch as I did.
Rated R for strong graphic sexual content, language, and a beating.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Blue Valentine's aspect ratio of 1.66:1 helped give a sense of being trapped, as well as added to the intimacy this candid look into a failing relationship delivered. The films flashback scenes were filmed in 16mm, and were gritty and grainy, having a slight blown out contrast look. Details were limited, but it was an artistic choice. The Films direction and cinematography were quite the asset to the film, and had two separate feels. The present day portions of the film were strikingly defined, showing every pore, wrinkle and stubble on the many close-up shots. This portion had a cold blue tint to the film, adding to the tough reality of this couples situation. Blacks were strong and never wavering, showing strong detail, especially in the 'future room' scenes. I enjoyed the stylistic choices here, they were enough to give the film personality, but were never over bearing.
The DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound was ahead of the heap as far as dramas go. Being a talk heavy film, every nuance was audible. There were some times where the effects channels added some nice atmospherics, but they were few and far between, however, any more use would have been overkill. The track felt effortless and detailed, using music to widen the center channel focused sound-stage. You certainly wont disappointed, but you wont be showing this track off as a demo.
- Feature Commentary with Director Derek Cianfrance and Co-Editor Jim Helton
- (HD) Deleted Scenes
- (HD) The Making of Blue Valentine
- (HD) Frankie and Unicorn: Home Movie
- (HD) Trailer: Company Men
Final Thoughts:If you are ready to take a chance, you might just find 'Blue Valentine' as rewarding a watch as I did. For such a depressing look into some of these people worst moments, I found myself engaged by pitch-perfect casting and acting, as well as some great choices from the filmmakers as far as the look and pacing are concerned. You wont have any issues with Anchor Bay's presentation, and though not the most abundant collection of extras, all are informative and worth checking out. This is highly recommended, enjoy!
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-X3 3D 1080p 3D High Definition Front Projector
Screen Innovations Solar HD 1.3 120" 2.40:1 CinemaScope Screen
Marantz AV7005 Pre/Pro
Emotiva UPA7 Amplifier
Sony PS3 Slim Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sunfire Cinema Ribbon Trio On-Wall (5.1)
Sunfire True Subwoofer EQ Solitaire 10"