Blue Valentine (2010) and All Good Things (2010)
I’ve recently joined the Ryan Gosling fan club (not officially). I seem to be moving through his film portfolio at quite a speed, and although there still a few of his films that aren’t particularly to my taste, I continue to be impressed. These two films, are to date, my favourite Gosling movies- (if you want to see Gos dress up as a middle aged woman, opt for All Good Things!)
Blue Valentine (2010) is director Dereck Cianfrance’s second film. Gosling stars alongside Michelle Williams, as Dean, blue-collar worker and estranged husband to middle-class nurse, Cindy (Williams). Their seven-year marriage is reflected upon as the film takes it course, in a disturbing and remorseless look at what can happen if two people enter into marriage for the wrong reasons.
From the perspective of both Dean and Cindy, we come to learn that it is Dean who most of all values family, and wants to be there for his wife and child, and Cindy, in a mainly emotionless display, who strives to further her medical career. Director Cianfrance confronts the notion of class division that in part contributes to the distance between the two main characters.
Gosling’s acting style perfectly captures the clear and externalised emotions of dean, in a, what-you-see-is-what-you-get sense, whereas Michelle Williams child-like nature and inability to say how she feels, makes for the devastating concept, that there is a lot more than meets the eye. Although completely engrossing, the scripting of Cindy’s character and the occasional drawn out scene (with the intention to suggest emotional instability and the mundane) are taken little too far, leaving some of the scenes in my opinion, somewhat unwanted.
All Good Things (2010) is absolutely brilliant. You will need a good three hours to make time for this one, but I assure you, you will be more than pleasantly surprised (probably quite disturbed too). Generally a ‘psychological thriller’ and based upon America’s most famous missing persons case, there are three main, clever plot lines that intertwine throughout. Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst take the lead as David and Katie Marks. Their speedy, heart-warming and almost quirky first steps into love and marriage draw you in, to completely un-prepare you for what is to come.
Whilst still in love, David and Katie move to Vermont to fulfil their dream of owning a ‘health food store’, yet the film takes its turn upon moving to 1970’s New York; it is the Marks family and David’s tycoon father who has a powerful influence in and across the city. Upon the recognition that Katie will “never be one of us”, the darkness within the Marks family history begins to surface and in consequence serves well to none of the characters.
Gosling plays David as an emotionally tormented and almost personality-less, husband and son who only ever continues to downward spiral. In what I would consider the third section of the film, we move forward 20 years to David Marks sitting trial for the disappearance of his wife Katie, who was last seen in 1982. Gosling’s performance is continually impressive, the films ambiguity and suspense in its entirety, is the result of David’s/Gosling’s aloof nature. Despite taking on endless plot strands (the Freudian connotations are endless!), I think Andrew Jarecki’s bold ability to combine so much, has been completely successful.
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012) is another great one to watch, but again is quite lengthy. Gosling’s latest film Only God Forgives (released Friday August 2nd), brings about a reunion for Gos and Nicolas Winding Refn, director of Drive. AND… much to my excitement, 2014 will see Ryan Gosling direct How to Catch a Monster, starring Matt Smith, Saorise Ronan and Gosling’s real life girlfriend, Eva Mendes!!!