A story of two halves; not just of the two human beings that are inevitably involved in a film titled ‘Blue Valentine’, but of two different periods of time to which the film flips between.
The film opens to the present introducing Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams) and their child Frankie. The film flickers back to the roots of relationship achingly juxtaposed with it’s collapse.
With no glimmering beacon of a fulfilling and loving relationship the individuals were arguably looking to solve the need to be loved, that maybe explains their problematic take on it, instead of sharing it with each other. The film’s honesty is a relief as the beginning relationship is shot no brighter than it’s end, until perhaps the closing sequence. But this has been done before, (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind…)
It packs no punches but in its undertow serves a reminder how time itself can act as a corrosion to relationships. Like I said, there’s no optimistic revelation, but there is some beauty in its dullness. Unlike the relationships displayed in Control, which I have also watched recently. Putting it another way; there’s a level of bliss in it’s grit.
But it didn’t depress me beyond belief, like I was told it would. It wasn’t exactly inspiring either, and it didn’t need to be. It’s realistic but reflective, nostalgic and creative. However; if you’ve not seen it, you’re not missing much.
(No spoilers – I promise!)
Catfish. Boy falls in love with girl over facebook, only to find after plucking up the courage to meet her “in real life” – things aren’t what they seem. To which the film unravels a dark and eerie twist that makes your understanding of social networking plunge into the strange and unknown.
Wrong. Or so the trailer would make you believe. With so many documentary horror film set-ups, (such as Paranormal Activity, The Fourth Kind and not to mention The Blair Witch Project) it’s so easy to assume Catfish is going to be, I apologise for the pun, another fish in that pond.
But it’s really not.. I’m not going to spoil the film for anyone reading who hasn’t seen it, because I know how much I uncontrollably hate that.. Although, I was originally disappointed that this didn’t turn into a psychological horror that scared my socks off – I’ve still not been able to shake it’s chilling unmasking conclusion for four or five days now.
Like many documentary films, it has a slow pace but it does keep you hooked to reel you in for a real stunner. (Another fishing pun – sorry!) Catfish deserves it’s credits, there’s no annoying over-exaggerated camera jerks and the random art shots between frames are certainly not pretentious. Reality documentaries (especially ones involving facebook) don’t get more thrilling than this. So maybe my first statement above could summarise the film – ‘strange’ being the main adjective – just don’t expect it to be ‘spooky’ in a angry poltergeist sort of way.
I don’t want to say what you should expect before watching the film because it needs to be watched with no previous presumptions, like I had. It’s fascinating due to the fact it is all true – and perhaps a first for reality documentary films – it’s, coldly, believable.