Sunday, October 17, 2010

First thoughts on Blue Valentine

After not expecting to be able to attend this year's Philadelphia Film Festival, I got a surprise offer to go to Philly this weekend.  So I checked the festival schedule and lo and behold, I could see both Blue Valentine and Black Swan.  After my dance of joy, I knew a great cinematic weekend was in store for this critic.  Of course I had no press pass this time so I had to actually buy tickets and go in with the "people" (incidentally this led to a great conversation with two very cinematically knowledgeable gentlemen attending the festival).  Whatever the case, my idea of a great cinematic weekend was not only had, but went far beyond even my great expectations.

 I am still percolating my thoughts for my eventual review on these films (which should come in the next few days sometime - if not full-length reviews, but at least a festival report kind of piece).  Before doing any of that though, I do want to mention a few things about Blue Valentine right away.  First and foremost is the recent attachment of an NC-17 rating from the MPAA.  After seeing the film, I must agree there are several very raw sex scenes in the film, but in no way do they "top" many of these same kind of scenes in many an R-rated film.  There is an abortion scene in the film which may very well be the real reason for this very unfair rating.  And unfair it certainly is.  

Sure, I will still see the film no matter the rating (obviously) but many will not have the opportunity due to many mainstream theaters refusing to carry a film with the stigma of an NC-17 attached to it.  There is also the loss of potential Oscar nominations for the film and its actors - which they so richly deserve.  The rating will hopefully be changed by its Dec. 31st release (and hopefully on appeal and not with forced cuts), but the stigma of the rating will still be there.

And speaking of the Oscar deserving actors, the other thing I needed to talk about right away, was just that.  One hesitates in using such cliched terms as the best actor and best actress of their generation, but I defy anyone, upon seeing Blue Valentine, to not say that exact same thing about Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.  Always a fan of both (Gosling in Half Nelson and Murder by Numbers; Williams in Brokeback Mountain and Wendy and Lucy) their raw, angry, bitter, heartbreaking performances in Blue Valentine more than cemented that idea.

But enough of that, I will have reviews coming soon.

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