Blue Valentine

  • Review Date: December 29, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2010

Common Sense Media says

Agonizing but beautiful adult drama about love and marriage.
  • Review Date: December 29, 2010
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2010

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There's lots of complicated, messy relationship stuff here, but at its heart, the movie is saying that you can't have the good without the bad. The message is that relationships are both beautiful and ugly, sometimes at the same time; they buoy you and make you question yourself.

Positive role models

The characters are multi-dimensional and realistically drawn; they’re flawed human beings who make mistakes and can’t always fix them. But most of them are warm, loving, and giving, too.

Violence

Three men ambush a man at work and beat him up; they’re shown kicking and punching him. Afterward, his face is swollen and bloodied. A couple argues bitterly during an intimate moment.

Sex

This film was initially given an NC-17 rating for a scene of explicit sexual content but was re-rated R on appeal. A man and a woman are shown in a sexual position; his behind is somewhat visible, as is a side view of hers. A couple takes a shower together; her breasts are bare. A married couple is also seen bickering while trying to have sex.

Language

Frequent strong language includes "f--k," "s--t," “bitch,” “a--hole,” “jackass,” “p---y,” “motherf--ker,” “c--t," "hell," and "goddamn."

Consumerism

Logos for Budweiser and Steinway Moving and Storage.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A character drinks fairly steadily, sometimes throughout the day. He also smokes often. A couple loads up on liquor that they imbibe in a motel.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this intense, moving drama about a young couple’s rocky relationship is fraught with moments that are both tender and true, with the truest being the most anguished. The complex, heavy material -- which includes abortion and hints of alcoholism -- will likely overwhelm most kids, except perhaps for the oldest of teenagers. Expect some sexual scenes with partial nudity (including one that originally earned the film an NC-17 rating, which was reduced to an R on appeal), swearing (including "f--k" and more), and drinking, as well as a number of forceful arguments.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Falling in and out of love is a puzzle that few can resist. In BLUE VALENTINE, in scenes laid out in non-linear order, viewers watch as a young couple, Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling), first set their sights on each other and decide to build a life together ... and, later, watch that same life dismantle. It’s an age-old story: How do two people find each other in this wayward world, only to lose sight of each other even when they're under the same roof? As one of the characters says: How can you trust your feelings when they can disappear just like that?

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Blue Valentine has nearly everything a movie needs to be perfect -- great actors who live in their characters as if there’s no other place to be, a transfixing storyline, and a director so committed to his vision that he asked his actors to live together as a family during part of the shoot. There's nary a false note in the film; euphoric scenes feel euphoric, and painful scenes radiate pain. Sometimes it feels as if we’re in the same room as Cindy and Dean experience their most tender and terrible moments. One scene plucked from their first date is filled with so much of the giddy flush of falling in love that your heart can't help but ache at the anticipation of what lies ahead.

But if you believe that movies are expected to provide an escape, you're out of luck here. Blue Valentine may not be the film to see for married couples having troubles (or anyone close to such a couple) -- it’s much too real to offer respite. Then again, this may be one of the best films about a relationship’s trajectory, from infatuation to unraveling -- and what an experience it is to witness.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's messages about relationships. Does it seem realistic? Would you want a relationship like the one portrayed here? Parents, talk to your teens about your family's values concerning dating and relationships.

  • How does the relationship portrayed here compare to other movies about couples? Is it similar or different?

  • Why do you think the movie was originally rated NC-17? Why do you think it was changed to an R?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:December 29, 2010
DVD release date:May 10, 2011
Cast:Michelle Williams, Mike Vogel, Ryan Gosling
Director:Derek Cianfrance
Studio:Weinstein Co.
Genre:Drama
Run time:120 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:strong graphic sexual content, language, and a beating

This review of Blue Valentine was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written bykhan2705 February 4, 2011
AGE
16
QUALITY
 

realistic raw romantic flick, excellent.

The film centers on a contempo married couple, charting their evolution over a span of years by cross-cutting between time periods.

well Blue Valentine was outstanding. was looking forward to watch this movie after hearing good reviews and all the film festival buzz about it. well the buzz was right. this movie was so scary in term of the realistic plot of it. frighteningly realistic, raw and sadly beautiful romance/drama, and also there performances were as raw as their characters. breakthrough realistic performances.

direction of this movie is well done, excellent. screenplay is good but could have been slightly better. fresh and new story and idea. it takes a little time to develop but after that its very engaging and very appealing. lovely movie. editing was very good. cinematography was good too. performances wise its superb. Ryan Gosling's best performance till date after Half Nelson. he is adorable in this movie. he did that old age performance so well. Michelle Williams as always did a fantastic job. its not just her amazing beauty but her inner talent and God Gifted natural talent that you fall in love with her and the character she portrays. she is excellent.

the way their story is shown is pretty good and interesting. i mean the way their love life at span of time. the way they meet, they fall in love, their own life hurdles, then they marry and their problems after that and eventually a very bitter and depressing ending. its a very bold and brave attempt, very emotional and painful to watch. i don't have words to describe my feelings for it. one of the best movie of this year. an excellent attempt. powerful and unforgettable experience. MUST WATCH.

What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Teen, 15 years old Written byperson14 February 6, 2011
AGE
15
QUALITY
 

Beautiful tragic film, that is positive in the sense that it shows Dean the main male lead helping Cindy raise a child that may not be his own. Lots of graphic sex with moaning, some of it is romantic and other situations are bitter. Has some intense moments, with a verbally abusive father. But for some reason it has a sort of charm to it.

What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Adult Written byxixshaiyaxix January 8, 2011
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

Older teens

What other families should know
Too much sex

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