Blue Valentine 8/10
'Blue Valentine' is about more than just marital fatigue and burnout. It is about the capriciousness and emotional insecurities that lead to quick marriages but later also slowly eat away at love over time. Michelle Williams gives a remarkable performance as Cindy, the dedicated mother and nurse who is trying her best to cope with living with Dean (Ryan Gosling), a somewhat unmotivated but clearly devoted father and house painter who does not seem to understand the emotional distance and exhaustion that she feels. Cianfrance's directing style is reminiscent of Cassavetes in its realism. The blending of the past (shot on film using handheld super 16mm) and present (shot in HD using the Red One) in the film is also highly effective. Oh, and the soundtrack is by Grizzly Bear, but the great ukulele tune was actually written and performed by Ryan Gosling. Overall, the film is a heartbreaking portrayal of a relationship that is held together by ever more fragile threads but at the same time is pulled apart by the habits and idiosyncrasies that each of them used to find charming in one another. It would have been my #4 film of 2010 had I seen it in time for my list.