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Moreno: “Blue Valentine” makes us think about the journey

Laura Moreno

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After persistent pleads from my older sister, I vowed to watch the film “Blue Valentine” once the opportunity surfaced. A grateful thanks to A&O Films for presenting the film this past weekend at Harris Hall, despite the irony of beginning students’ brief period of relief on a depressing note-a well-needed, depressing note.

The audience Friday night included a smattering of men and mostly women, big and small groups of friends and couples and others with no company. I pondered whether the film would be more difficult to watch alone or with a partner. At the start of the credits, I noticed that the unaccompanied individuals left earlier than the couples, who seemed to sit in their seats and reflect longer.

I remember being warned about the film several times, but no words could have prepared me for the intensity of some scenes. The film traveled from the present to the past, divulging the stages of the couple’s relationship. But once the scenes could be placed in chronological order, the dissipation of its relationship could be seen clearly. What began as young, free affection between lovers ends as a fight between two rivals: the man who desperately clenches at the remainder of his faith in their love, and the woman who obstinately refuses to be suffocated by it. The film ends with no hope in rekindling their love.

When the credits began, silence loomed for a few moments in the audience. There was a diversity of facial expressions: perplexed, sad, mad and blank. Except for the couple who could be heard uncapping beers during the film – they seemed to be in high spirits.

I wondered, for a moment, if the movie would be forgotten immediately after the credits – but something told me otherwise. The rest of the night felt a little gloomy, and appropriately so. I think it is important to be impacted in such a way because it puts things in perspective that would otherwise be disregarded. Especially at a young age, people should deeply and seriously reflect on precisely what “Blue Valentine” conveys. The real downers are films that portray unrealistic, flawless love. Prince Charmings are ideal, but in the end, as said in the film, “people settle for who’s going to stick around.”

It seems depressing from one perspective. But from another, aren’t those people the ones who matter most? Aren’t they the most invaluable?

I think that’s the ultimate goal, anyway: finding unconditional love.

Despite the film’s ending, I still believe there is such a thing as “true” and unconditional love. It merely requires much time, energy and work. If one gives up on the idea, she will only try to convince herself that the happy moments shared with another-moments too human for films-were ordinary. But these moments are the most unforgettable memories-those that embody the very essence of raw, human emotion.

Look around and see who has been by your side since the beginning. And don’t be intimidated to watch “Blue Valentine,” even if Ryan Gosling is balding for most of its duration (ladies).

Laura Moreno is a Weinberg freshman and DAILY blogger. She can be reached at lauramoreno2014@u.northwestern.edu.

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