Blue Valentine

Sometimes a film can strike a chord that falls slightly out of tune, accompanies an off-tone voice and lights up the sidewalk.

Blue Valentine is film that you should see. I am writing this here, instead of on "Social Media" because I want to explore what things really are. My keyboard feels wrong. My laptop is ultra fast and touch enabled and it is dying to download something else and stream and it just deleted an entire paragraph.

But while my workstation keyboard is cold, I will help it to soldier up the hill of a review. Perhaps its constant inability to ignore
the random off key hit and provide any kind of hammering, happy refrain to my writing - will be an inspiration to just wire myself straight into the ultrabook. Who knows.

The film is about a languishing marriage, and flashes back and forth in time. It is beautiful. It is a valentine. And at its heart, are the blues. Aptly named, but also given over to a simple sense of exploration and growth. See it. Yes, I said this twice.

I am not sure why America loves the blues. Or rather, loved them. It is clear that we now find on the radio an auto-tuned oversampled form of music that finds its way to new spaces of post humanism and equal parts google and acquiescence. The music has moments of heart as does any form of rebound. Blues, however, seems to contrast to this music in melody, depth and light in dark. It abstracts from the different media it finds itself within and finds a way to express for us what we cannot express in words. Son house . The house of the rising sun.

Blues , like country - seems to find its greatest resonance when we cut through the veil. We find the characters of Blue Valentine enfolded in the veil of marriage and perhaps, at the end- saying goodbye to vows made by man. But, like a valentine - it does not ask of those vows anything other than their origin. All marriage weaves love, in its purest form - either at the beginning, or within - the promise of companionship and trust. The best marriages tend to have ways of taking the teeth out of the tiger. Country Music seems to find a way to capture the spirit of tiger rodeo, a greenbroke tiger folding to hand of its trainer, or herding the cats of life. Blues seems to be the fog of a cold morning roiling off the breath of that tiger in the stall, or at home on the range. America does not love the blues because they see the breath of death on those tigers. They do not listen to the blues to celebrate the beachhead at Anzio when they all break free.

We look into the cold of that breath as the oracle at delphi. The blues are as much for us a conduit as they are a foundation. Every chord, every riff of every song - is unique in some way. And sound carries color, life and light even through darkness.

Cindy, and Dean are two people who fall in love. Their character histories are painted in the brush of lost idealism and the circumstance of their love, improbable.

But it is real. And powerful. And in it we see where love and marriage can intersect. All too often, long companionship and the sense of easy familiarity with someone can mask the feeling we have for them in our heart. Dean takes too many liberties with Cindy. She seeks within him a compass that steers her away from her history of familial desolation. Hers was a childhood marked by a marriage that - in her own words - her parents seemed to have set aside love from it, before she was born. And Dean suffers from the distortions of broken family and loss of his mother. It can be argued that in whatever configuration of a family - be it two men, two woman, a woman and a man - or a single parent - there are always distortions. But it is within the unique intersection of his ability to seek out and adore a missing element in his life, at the cost of his ambition and drive - and her ability to commutate the harshness of a "stable" family with abstraction from those elements - that provide the backdrop of a love that is unique and simple.

Cindy and Dean form a Blue Valentine. They are a light in the darkness. If , at any point in the film - a child cries. We know that it is only the child without. We seem to cheer for Dean to become stronger - more aggressive. We want Cindy to be able to back away from her confusion and find in Dean the validation of her decision to marry him. And the heart that beats true.

And like a Valentine, it opens simply - has a clear message - and is signed in real hand. Like music from a ukelele, it holds in its beauty an undeniable progression of chords - not limited by four strings but simply painted in the four colors and sung with a false voice. It is not a greeting card, with a hidden music chip in it that you can quietly lodge in the ceiling or out of sight - and then get everyone in on the joke except the one who suffers it.

Do you hear music? No. I don't. Why?

Instead, it opens with Snoopy. Running free. And soon we find out the measure of that freedom. And why we love. And how to love again.
Even if the music falls, like the blues - to a sort of simplicity. Perhaps that is what love thrives upon.

And that is why you should see the film.


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