"People thought they were seeing more than they actually did. It was the emotion of the scenes, not the content, that was so graphic."
That's what Harvey Weinstein said last week after a Manhattan screening of "Blue Valentine." This movie almost received a fatal NC-17 rating because of a steamy sex scene between Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling. It was producer Harvey himself who went before the ratings board and pleaded his case for anRrating, detailing sex scenes far more graphic than what appears in "Blue Valentine."
It is doubtful if many people will even recall the Williams/Gosling sex interlude; the movie's overall emotional impact is that powerful!
"Blue Valentine" is a tale of young blue-collar love gone awry. Drinking, unwanted babies, affairs, hopes dashed. Be warned—not a feel-good experience. But it pulls you in slowly, filmed with unromantic realism. At times, at the beginning, it almost looks like a reality program, or an intimate home movie. There's a sense of invading a private place, witnessing something genuinely personal, not a movie at all. This won't be everybody's gritty cinematic cup of marital hemlock, but the screening audience sat—literally—stunned as the final credits rolled.
Miss Williams and Mr. Gosling, under Derek Cianfrance's direction, portray the unhappy couple with an intensity that alternately stops and bleeds the heart.
After the screening hosted by the Cinema Society and Piaget, there was a party at Soho Grand Hotel's Club Room. Miss Williams attended, her hair was super-blonde and her skin was super pale; she has just finished shooting "My Week with Marilyn" and, though she really looks nothing like Monroe, there is a similar open, vulnerable quality—something in the eyes.
She remarked that she had no idea "there were so many layers" to Marilyn and that yes, indeed, she had seen all the movies, especially "The Prince and the Showgirl," co-starring Laurence Olivier. ("My Week with Marilyn" is based on the "diaries" of Olivier's assistant. Olivier was driven to distraction by Monroe's issues. Years later, however, he would admit that her performance was brilliant.)
Somebody commented to Michelle that "Blue Valentine" left its audience wondering about certain things. It isn't entirely clear what goes wrong in the onscreen marriage. The actress said: "But that's like life. In relationships don't you always feel in the first couple of months you know what might break you up—you hope it doesn't, but it's there. So, that's how the director, Derek, presented it. Nothing is ever entirely clear, is it?"
Actually, it's pretty clear that Miss Williams and Mr. Gosling have a good chance at Oscar nods. (Both have already received Golden Globe nominations.)
And how satisfying that our favorite mogul, Harvey Weinstein, is having such a very good year, what with "Blue Valentine," and "The King's Speech." He also owns the international rights to "The Fighter." Mr. W. looked very good at the party that night, trimmer, and full of the old Harvey brio!