Set in an unknown, unimportant time and place, Blue Valentine is the story of a couple, Dean (Ryan Gosling) and Cindy (Michelle Williams). As well as their young daughter, Frankie (Faith Wladyka). The story, in the direct sense is about their first meeting, their falling in love, marriage and eventual divorce. However, the film never plays it that straight. And it doesn’t always limit itself to questioning only their relationship. It goes beyond one couple's existence, inevitably analysing the notion of what love can mean between any two people.
Beginning in (their) present day, Valentine cuts back and forth between past and present deftly, juxtaposing the beginnings of the characters and their relationship alongside exploration of their current situation. Straight away, it seems we as an audience should celebrate that such a narrative is not sullied here. It may dwell in one place for a short while, but soon enough, a corresponding previous memory is upon us, without warning or patronizing title cards. I would say you have to try to keep up, but ultimately the film is so well versed in its own structure, that I do not have too. Everything is obvious and it is perfectly timed. The remarkable editing seems to exist to merely complement us. A scene where Dean notices Cindy for the first time for example, is ended suddenly, only to reveal its importance many scenes later in her back-story. The subtle achievement of this moment is surely one wannabe directors will consistently admire.