“Blue Valentine”

Aided by his performance of “You Always Hurt the One You Love” on the ukelele at the beginning of his romance with a brighter blond student who finds him charming and a convenient escape from her troubles, including being pregnant by a bad boyfriend, I assumed Ryan Gosling’s character would be an abusive husband.

But it was not at all as I expected. Watched it last night — two hours of sad realism. In a lot of ways the character Dean (Gosling) does remind me of guys I have known — boyish, unfocused, washed out of academia and professional jobs by lack of drive or attention span. But charming and talented and sweet.

Despite the scene at the doctor’s office where his wife Cindy (Michelle Williams) works, where he gets angry and starts tearing up the room before punching the doctor (who he correctly thinks has his eye on Cindy), he’s not abusive or narcissistic; he just wants their initial deal (I will love you and another man’s child as my own, you love me back) honored. Everyone assumes he’s the coarse, abusive husband of sweet Cindy, but actually she is more to blame for their problems than he is – he never showed any sign of ambition or accomplishment, so when Cindy chose to marry him to escape temporary problems at home, a nasty boyfriend and impending pregnancy, she was the source of the problem; she was bright and married a charming slacker of average intelligence, then got tired of his immaturity and lack of drive. All he wanted was to love her.

So I ended up more sympathetic to Dean, the “loser”, than to Cindy, who should have had the wit to know better than to marry him. Very very sad.

For more on pop culture:

The Lessons of Walter White
“Mad Men”
The Morality of Glamour
“Mockingjay” Propaganda Posters
“Big Bang Theory” — Aspergers and Emotional/Social Intelligence
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
Reading “50 Shades of Grey” Gives You Anorexia and an Abusive Partner!
YA Dystopias vs Heinlein et al: Social Justice Warriors Strike Again
“Raising Arizona” — Dream of a Family

More on Divorce, Marriage, and Mateseeking

Marriages Happening Late, Are Good for You
Monogamy and Relationship Failure; “Love Illuminated”
“Millionaire Matchmaker”
More reasons to find a good partner: lower heart disease!
“Princeton Mom” Susan Patton: “Marry Smart” not so smart
“Blue Valentine”
“All the Taken Men are Best” – why women poach married men….
“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
Student Loan Debt: Problems in Divorce
“The Upside of ‘Marrying Down’”
The High Cost of Divorce
Separate Beds Save Marriages?
Marital Discord Linked to Depression
Marriage Contracts: Give People More Legal Options
Older Couples Avoiding Marriage For Financial Reasons
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Vox Charts Millennial Marriage Depression
What’s the Matter with Marriage?
Life Is Unfair! The Great Chain of Dysfunction Ends With You.
Leftover Women: The Chinese Scene
Constant Arguing Can Be Deadly…
“If a fraught relationship significantly shortens your life, are you better off alone?
“Divorce in America: Who Really Wants Out and Why”
View Marriage as a Private Contract?
“It’s up there with ‘Men Are From Mars’ and ‘The Road Less Travelled’”
Free Love, eHarmony, Matchmaking Pseudoscience
Love Songs of the Secure Attachment Type
“The New ‘I Do’”
Unrealistic Expectations: Liberal Arts Woman and Amazon Men
Mark Manson’s “Six Healthy Relationship Habits”
“The Science of Happily Ever After” – Couples Communications
Free Dating Sites: Which Have Attachment Type Screening?
Dating Pool Danger: Harder to Find Good Partners After 30
Mate-Seeking: The Science of Finding Your Best Partner
Perfect Soulmates or Fellow Travelers: Being Happy Depends on Perspective
No Marriage, Please: Cohabiting Taking Over
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Rules for Relationships: Realism and Empathy
Limerence vs. Love
The “Fairy Tale” Myth: Both False and Destructive
When to Break Up or Divorce? The Economic View
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Divorce and Alimony: State-By-State Reform, Massachusetts Edition
“Sliding” Into Marriage, Small Weddings Associated with Poor Outcomes
Subconscious Positivity Predicts Marriage Success…
Why We Are Attracted to Bad Partners (Who Resemble a Parent)

5 comments

    1. It’s made pretty clear Dean makes much less than his wife. Unclear how much support could be ordered, especially since he’s acknowledged not to be the father, but it’s not a big victory.

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      1. You can never tell who’s being sarcastic. 🙂

        Since it’s widely known the child isn’t his, that claim (while not impossible) would be pretty nervy. Given their dynamic, I don’t think she’d do that. Bad enough already. But then it’s fiction!

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