Blue Valentine (15) ****

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(Back to camera) Garrett Hedlund as Jamie McAllan. (Front of cart) Mary J. Blige as Florence Jackson (also inset)  and Rob Morgan as Hap Jackson.

Movies And TRAILER: Mary J Blige talks Mudbound

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Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams are strong contenders for Oscar nominations for their tour-de-force portrayal of a husband and wife in Derek Cianfrance’s slow-burning drama.

Removal man Dean (Gosling) crosses paths with Cindy (Williams) at a retirement home and he is smitten, pursuing the young woman until she agrees to a date. Their fiery and passionate romance leads to marriage and a family, but the giddiness and excitement of those early months together is replaced by weariness as the relationship settles into a routine. When Cindy encounters her high school sweetheart (Mike Vogel) in the supermarket, seeds of jealousy are sown that reap poisonous fruit when the couple head to a hotel for a rare night alone.