It’s not quite sadtacular. It’s not quite good enough for that. But it has all the fixings for it.
Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams play a married couple in their mid-twenties who are raising a little girl. The love between them is gone, lost in their dreary lives. Cindy is a nurse and seems deeply unhappy. Dean drinks too much and is convinced that the love is still there – he just needs to get them into a situation where they can find the love again. He takes her to a hotel with themed rooms for couples to role-play, and it all comes out.
The film is told in a very disjointed fashion, with the story of their current life interrupted by vignettes from their past; meeting, falling in love, finding a life together.
It’s not an easy film to watch, that’s for sure. Cindy is victim who has lived with an aggressive father and struggles to dream of a better future. There is the hope that Dean could be her saviour, but it becomes clear that he is not; he is another bully, but he does not realise this. It’s a film that hurts, because of how genuine the characters are in their hopes and dreams, and because of the pain they are going through.