Derek Cianfrance’s first feature is about a boyish ex-con (Ryan Gosling) who lacks ambition. His more focused wife (Michelle Williams), a nurse, tires of his limitations as drink, temper, dutiful sex, and parenting corrode the remains of romance. Williams is excellent, Gosling ragged. In a way that recalls John Cassavetes’s films, there are heartfelt truths, and the frank sex is hardly provoking. In 1970, such decline-of-love material was treated with a more adult grip in Irvin Kershner’s Loving.
Length: 1 hour, 54 minutes