Double feature: “Blue Valentine” and “Sense and Sensibility” both enrich our understanding of the sometimes attractive, sometimes repulsive power that opposing personalities can have on each other. Each film presents us with an alternately loving and exasperated pair of opposites – in “Blue Valentine”‘s case, a married couple; in “Sense and Sensibility”‘s, two sisters – comprising one “rational” and one “emotional” member.
Given their inherent sophistication, both films complicate this polarity by demonstrating that each protagonist has a bit of their opposite’s personality in them. The predominately “heart-ruled” members of each pair often display a canny rationality, while their “head-ruled” counterparts are driven to passionate outbursts of emotion. Both films ask whether the dynamics of these paired opposites force the inhabiting of extremes at the expense of more natural, balanced inclinations. Would “sense” be less rational if “sensibility” were less emotional, or do these personalities represent fundamentally different operating mechanisms?
Both films also have something to say about bearing disappointment, and about watching one’s feelings for someone change, radically, with time.
For a marathon: After “Sense and Sensibility,” check out “The Story of Adele H.” for a related view of romantic logistics – and broken promises – among sensitive Europeans centuries ago.
(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “.Larry Page” and “stabz98” at Flickr)