Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are easily two of the best actors working in Hollywood, so the pairing of the duo in Blue Valentine, a film more than a decade in the making and an entry at the Sundance Film Festival last January, seems at once natural and wonderful.These two exceptional performers were seemingly star-crossed to display their talents alongside each other.
Gosling mesmerized me when I saw him in The Believer at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival, three years before he captivated the hearts of ladies everywhere in The Notebook, and I was impressed with his focus and intensity. He only solidified that with his roles in Half Nelson (he was nominated for a best actor Oscar for his role as a drug addicted teacher) and Lars and The Real Girl. As for Williams, not only is she strikingly beautiful, but she solidified her ability with me in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain, playing the emotionally abused wife to Heath Ledger’s struggling gay cowboy. She effortlessly displayed the emotional fatigue and quiet despair that might encompass a mild-mannered young woman dealing with the trials and tribulations in Small Town, Wyoming.
Blue Valentine, a story of a failing marriage, told in non-linear fashion, has been receiving rave reviews from the festival circuit, particularly Sundance and Cannes, and is slated for a US release (limited, of course) on December 31st, 2010. Gosling and Williams have both been mentioned as best actor and actress candidates, but with the film receiving a controversial NC-17 rating, those hopes and dreams could float away quickly unless the studio wins an appeal or makes cuts.
As for me, NC-17 or not, this looks like a wonderful movie and right up my alley. When it comes to storytelling, I love bare bones, honest, rooted-in-emotion character studies that, even though bleak at times, give us hope. How about you? What do you think of the trailer?