Contemporary marriage has its critics — those who would like to change it and those who would like to do away with it altogether. This well-acted film focuses on a married couple at two stages of their relationship: when they are falling in love while living in New York City and seven years later when they are living with their daughter, debt, and the burdens that come with time, familiarity, and multiple setbacks. They have not weathered the emotional storms over the years and now seem to be stuck — an unhappy place to be after all the high hopes of romantic attachment.

Dean (Ryan Gosling) loves his daughter Frankie (Faith Wladyka) and is at home in a wooded area. When their dog wanders off, he blames his wife Cindy (Michelle Williams) for not closing the gate. It is just another incident in their lives where sparks fly in the wake of blame and criticism. This is how they now relate to each other, and it is not a pretty picture.

In a flashback to when they first met, we see Dean as a handsome and jaunty young man with no ambitions to take the world by storm. He has settled down in a job with a moving company in Brooklyn. He meets Cindy, a young and attractive woman who yearns to join the medical profession, at an old folk's home. He is a true romantic who even serenades her with a song and his ukulele in front of a building. She is less passionate in their most intimate moments as she were holding something back. Like all couples who have just fallen in love, they realize that marriage is a chance to take their initial attraction and make it grow into something large, richer, and more varied. But the scenes set later reveal that Cindy has made up her mind that she no longer loves Dean and wants to leave. A last ditch attempt by Dean to save the marriage is sad to behold.

Blue Valentine presents a chilling anatomy of how an intimate relationship can begin with genuine passion and end with a whimper.

Special features on the DVD include an audio commentary with director Derek Cianfrance and co-editor Jim Helton; the making of Blue Valentine; deleted scenes; and home movies.