Blue Valentine

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Blue Valentine Movie Poster Image
Popular with kids
Agonizing but beautiful adult drama about love and marriage.
  • R
  • 2010
  • 120 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 7 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 11 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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.


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.


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.


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


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.

What 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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byShane T. November 25, 2017
16 or 17 minimum.
Adult Written byBestPicture1996 January 1, 2015

Anguishing look at one rocky relationship

I've been in a really great relationship for the past nine months, and this movie has TERRIFIED me as if I wasn't already to break up. Ryan Gosling an... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byusername342343 April 1, 2021
Teen, 15 years old Written byethan97 March 9, 2021


Appalling sexual content that I couldn't care for.

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?

Blue Valentine has nearly everything a movie needs to be perfect. It's got 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.

Talk to your kids 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love dramas

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