Blue Valentine—Anchor Bay

Video: 4/5
Audio: 4/5
Extras: 2/5

Told in an innovative style that blends present moments in time with romantic past memories, "Blue Valentine" is the uncompromising portrait of Dean and Cindy, a young married couple who have grown apart, taking one night away from their daughter to try to save their relationship.

Blue Valentine has a pretty distinct visual style. The film was shot using high definition video cameras so there is a lot of great detail, but an obvious video signature. As the film jumps between the past and present the visual style changes. Present day scenes are devoid of any noise and a very sharp and clean. Moments from the couple’s past are delivered with a fine layer of grain that gives the image a grittier look. These scenes still deliver plenty of resolution though. There is some minor banding on occasion and even a little compression noise, but this still looks quite solid on Blu-ray. The soundtrack is what I would expect from this type of film. There is enough emotional weight with the score to be noticed, but it is never intrusive. Dialogue is captured nicely with natural balance and weight and the front soundstage has an airy feel to it. Dynamic range is pretty limited and the surrounds are used pretty infrequently.

Extras include a feature audio commentary along with some behind the scenes features on set. You also get a small “home movie” that features the same characters that runs like a home video. Some deleted scenes are also included.

This film was originally given a NC-17 rating which was petitioned back down to R. I have no idea why the MPAA would even consider an NC-17 as the film isn’t nearly as racy as some many Hollywood productions. Most cable networks are pushing boundaries far beyond this film. The performances from Williams and Gosling are outstanding but the film is not one that would warrant repeat viewings for most given the more difficult subject matter. Worth a rental for fans of depressing human drama.

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