i’m tired of lives-intertwined-by-chance stories and i’m tried of dads-&-lack-thereof angst and this movie lays both on pretty thick so we’re off to a bad start already. cianfrance is so hung up on biological dads that mothers—even (apparently kind, committed, lifelong) adoptive dads—count for pretty much nothing. cianfrance seems to disapprove when the asshole cops crack on jennifer, but he hardly treats her with much more respect himself: she gets to act concerned then promptly get brushed off or told to shut up, and is given only a cameo in the third act to show us that, without a dad, she’s been incapable of saving her son from drugs & ruffianism. romina, beleaguered throughout, is thanked by her son with a photograph in the mail to remind her of the man whose fuckups she’d worked so hard to build a solid life in the wake of. i get the sense we’re supposed to like or at least feel bad for luke, even though he’s an asshole; perhaps because of his shy mumbles and that little half smile he does—so, in other words, because ryan gosling is playing him. gosling is on cruise control, basically mix-&-matching his drive & blue valentine characters (mysterious, criminal, amazing driver + deadbeat dad but kinda charming) then wrapping it up in a new look (wanted to rip the fucking inside-out shirts off his back).
and it’s fucking 2 hours and 20 minutes long and broken into three stories and i was waiting all along for it to come together somehow, and when it does of course it’s in the most trite, convenient ways. portentous coincidence, sins of the fathers, past violence coming back to haunt, etc etc etc, and then the photo in the wallet, and that last scene, feel like some movie of the week shit. the circle is complete, and……this is what i sat through all this for?!