There are romantic comedies. BLUE VALENTINE is more of a romantic tragedy. Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling are Cindy and Dean, a couple living a modest existence in Pennsylvania. They have a daughter, Frankie. And while all seems pretty normal, it soon becomes apparent that Cindy is just going through the motions. Dean is unambitious and starts drinking almost as soon as he wakes. At one point Cindy questions if he doesn't desire more from life and points to the drinking as a problem. Dean looks at it as a positive. He has a job where he GETS to drink early and often! Dean is all positive. Cindy is all negative. At least where their relationship is concerned. But you also learn that it wasn't always that way. Through flashbacks, we get a glimpse at the courtship and happier times. Especially how Dean stepped up during one especially trying period in Cindy's life (don't want to spoil it). Blue Valentine shows how a couple can fall out of love. It' an advertisement for thinking twice before getting married or falling in love. The cinematography is as bleak as the story.. all grey and washed out. But what shines through is the undeniable talent of the two leads. Williams and Gosling are amazing. It makes one wonder why Gosling didn't get a nod instead of say, Jeff Bridges (love him as Rooster, but he won last year). Williams deserves her Oscar nomination and it's obvious that Natalie Portman has some serious competition come voting time. This is a valentine wrapped in divorces papers and sprayed with the perfume of defeat. — Alan Yudman

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