Blue Valentine
2010
****½
Director: Derek Cianfrance
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Mike Vogel, Faith Wladyka, John Doman, Marshall Johnson, Ben Shenkman, Jessica Barth, Bill Smitrovich

Cindy and Drew are a married couple with a 4-year-old daughter. She is a nurse and he is a semi-alcoholic layabout. This hard-hitting drama cuts between the blissful beginning and the bitter end of their relationship. Like the reverse narrative in 5×2, the structure allows the audience to try and spot where it all went wrong. Derek Cianfrance doesn’t provide fancy visual fireworks; his film is an intimate and poignant character piece built around two extremely talented young actors. The performances by Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are warm but intense, and very naturalistic. Music by Grizzly Bear.