Saturday, January 15, 2011

Blue Valentine (2010)

On January 5th, I took a day trip to New York City to see Blue Valentine; at the time, the film was playing in a total of 4 theaters nationwide (NYC and Los Angeles) but has slowly been expanding. Since I am more familiar with midtown/uptown Manhattan (it was also playing at the Angelika Film Center downtown on Houston Street), I opted to see the film at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas on Broadway and 62nd Street. The 3:30 matinee was packed, and the actual screen size was on the smaller side and some of the image went above the white screen (more on that later).

Blue Valentine is a love story that intercuts between the beginning and (possibly?) end of the relationship between house painter Dean (Ryan Gosling) and nurse Cindy (Michelle Williams). And I thought the film was absolutely superb. Not only did the performances blow me away, but the story just ripped my heart out.

The scene filmed in the Reference Department at Albright Memorial Library on May 13, 2009 appears about an hour, 10 minutes into the film during one of Cindy's "past" sequences. Dean had previously given Cindy his business card with a personal message written by him on the back. While seated at the table with classmates in the Periodicals Room (you can recognize the chairs, tables and even magazine holders--or Princeton Files--in the background), Cindy's on-off boyfriend Bobby (Mike Vogel) snatches the card out of her hand. I mentioned the framing issue previously because I did not see any of the stained glass windows of the Albright Memorial Library building--but maybe I just missed them out of sheer excitement.

The exterior of the Albright Memorial Library building itself also appears in the background of a scene about 30 minutes into Blue Valentine. As Michelle Williams is riding the bus alone to meet Bobby, you distinctly see Albright Memorial Library as it passes through the bus windows. At first I wasn't 100% positive that it indeed was the library, so I asked Dan Flosdorf, who was responsible for the sound design, sound editing, and the re-recording mixing of Blue Valentine, via Dan's Twitter and he told me via a tweet, "I believe it is."

As of Friday, January 14th, Blue Valentine was only playing in limited release in 230 movie theaters nationwide, but it is expected to expand wider (most likely including Cinemark in Moosic, which plays a lot of art films in its CineArts series) as the critically acclaimed film gains well-deserved momentum during awards seasons.

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