Friday, February 11, 2011

Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine

Michelle Williams received her second Oscar nomination for playing Cindy, a woman having serious marital problems in the very unusual movie, Blue Valentine. Williams' nomination wasn't a very sure thing, quite frankly. Not because she did not deserve it (she did) but because her movie is so unusual and indie, actually not many thought at the beginning of this season that she would get so far. Therefore she doesn't have much chance of winning in two weeks' time, in her case it's true that it's an honor just to be nominated.

Blue Valentine is a very unusual and innovative movie in many ways and yet it was a bit disappointing to me. It might be probably because I've heard such good things about it everywhere that I had super-high expectations from it. The screenplay is just excellent and I'm quite shocked that it was not nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category as they just love those indie screenplays. Ryan Gosling gives a very good though and a nomination would have been very deserved for him. I'm not that upset, though that it did not happen.

Michelle Williams is such an interesting actress. She's definitely the best actress of her generation. She has a unique, beautiful presence on the screen and one can so easily relate to her characters. Her acting style is so uncanny and impressive, she always takes my breath away. Moreover, she's also incredibly versatile. One day, she will definitely become an Oscar winner, I think though she might have to wait a couple of years to get the award.

Her performance in Blue Valentine is something that isn't mindblowing while you're watching it, but grows on you in time and haunts you. At first glance, it might seem to be another audience-pleasing weirdo-girl performance, but it's something much more than that. Cindy is a very ordinary woman/girl coming from a lower middle-class family. She did not have a very easy life, she had many boyfriends. The only person with whom she has a decent relationship is her grandmother.

Michelle Williams approached this character with such subtlety and I always felt that she understood all the problems of this character. Furthermore, Williams is so damn fearless and she's never afraid of looking ugly and being unlikeable on the screen. Although it's easy to relate to the character, Cindy is never really likeable. In addition, Williams added so much mystery to Cindy. I could never find out her intentions and I became so puzzled but in a very good way.

The only complaint of mine about this performance might be its pace. It starts out quite slow and I felt that it should have been a bit more dynamic. It might also be that Michelle only wanted to develop the character more carefully, this was just a bit odd, I think. However, with some little gestures and nuances, I got much closer to Cindy and I was impressed by Williams' performance more. There are small pictures and movements that are now ingrained in my memory. Like her smiles in the scene on the bus where she's telling a joke to her boyfriend. It's such a realistic and natural moment and I felt like being there. It was excellent. The other is when she runs to the bathroom at the hotel and starts crying and sobbing. It was just breathtaking to watch.

Williams basically plays two characters in this movie: the young Cindy and the more mature Cindy who are basically polar opposites. Williams was not given a chance to develop her throughout the movie from one scene to another and yet the decelopment of Cindy is clearly visible. All the emotions are so superbly displayed by Michelle.

The highlights of her whole performance are quite probably the fight scenes at the hospital when Ryan Gosling is raging and yelling and she's shouting at him. I was so blown away by those moments. The chemistry between them worked so brilliantly and they worked together so thrillingly. Those were one of the finest moments I've ever seen in a movie.

So, to sum up, this is a terrific, very unusual performance that is extremely memorable and haunting. Michelle Williams took a very ordinary character and made her something very interesting. It may not be for everyone, but it's surely breathtaking breathtaking once in a while. A real treat for Best Actress fans.
A very strong 4,5.


joe burns said...

Great review! I'm hoping to see her today...

dinasztie said...

Thanks Joe! And yes, see it as soon as possible. She's brilliant.