At the end of the movie 'Blue Valentine', as 'Dean' walked away from the home and sending their daughter back to 'Cindy' mean that they separate (divorce or something)?
Or does it mean anything else as you think?
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Since it's my all time favorite movie, I've done a lot of research on this one. As per your question, movie ends when Dean walks away crying from Cindy and Frankie. And the ending of the movie is left to viewers opinion. It's an open end.
In the end, Cindy cursed Dean that she wants a fucking divorce and Dean tries to convince her and tells her that he doesn't want Frankie to grow up in a broken home and Cindy tells that she needs space but she doesn't persists that she wants a divorce.
So, based on the scene I mentioned, as an optimist, I thought Cindy and Dean would get back together.
Now, I'll tell you why Derek Cianfrance (director of this movie) wanted to make Blue Valentine and what he has in his mind. In an interview, Derek was asked whether his parents were divorced and he answered:
Yeah, when I was 20 they split up. It was so confusing to me that I decided to confront it with a film and just started writing it. I had various co-writers over the years, including Joey Curtis and Cami Delavigne, and they are also children of divorce, so we tried to confront our fears and confusion together. And then when finally Ryan and Michelle became a part of it they too are children of divorce, and they eventually became what I considered to be co-writers on the film.
By the above answer, it is obvious that he wanted to make a movie about the problems in marriages and how it ends with a divorce.
In IMDb trivia, it mentioned;
Some have speculated that Dean and Cindy have ended their marriage. One of the photos during the end credits shows Dean and Cindy running backwards holding a sign with "Is This You?" on it, hinting the upcoming dissolution of their marriage.
In another source here states that;
Their love has gone missing, and Cianfrance leaves it up to the viewer to decide what happened to it. He empathizes with both characters and doesn't ignore the maddening reality that a relationship, like fruit or eyesight, can go can bad from nothing but the passage of time.
And Derek Cianfrance said;
"To me there's no one reason why Dean and Cindy split up," he said. "It's a million reasons, and then at the same time, it's just a feeling."
In the question, you asked, "does it mean anything else as you think?" and despite all the speculations above, I think, Dean and Cindy will get back together.
Like what Moe said, their relationship never worked out. It's pretty obvious Dean loves Cindy so much that he would do anything for her (example: marry her even though he found out the daughter isn't his. He also begged her if he can do anything to make things better.) On the other hand, Cindy is selfish to me, notice whenever she doesn't like something, she says "stop it". I mean it's ok to stop someone if you disagree what he is doing but that brings out her characteristic. She only cares about herself, since she doesn't care about her family at all. She didn't manage to abort because she was afraid to do it. It's like everything has to base on her preference. She didn't care about her daughter's breakfast, show, etc. She needed Dean because she knew she had a baby and she didn't know what to do. Also, she had to explain to her parents about her baby. It would've been tough if Dean never appeared in her life. That's also the main reason why she accepted Dean's proposal.
At the beginning of their relationship, I can tell Cindy likes him because of his passion and characteristic. She told Dean to do something because thought he has potential to be a "successful" guy. However, Dean doesn't share the same view, he said "I didn't want to be your husband" but he had to because he promised for what he said. He quit high school because he thought he couldn't find his life goal through big money and knowledge. He wouldn't mind working as a painter with low income. In my opinion, all he wants is a family with who he loves (his daughter and Cindy) but nothing else. To me, Cindy is selfish and a girl who won't think a step ahead, she does what she feels the most comfy. I also think, they did love each other, but the feeling was doubtful and temporary.
I have never seen such a sad movie, my heart literally broke at the middle of the film. I was like 'why Dean, why are you being such a good man! Why are you that stupid'. However, love is the thing makes people stupid and nonsense. Dean surely doesn't deserve that, but love is what makes him a person. It's life.
I believe Cindy's and Dean's relationship crumbled because of insecurity. First, from Cindy's point of view, she looks at Dean and sees the perfect guy. I mean Dean is a musician that looks like Ryan Gosling. And he has so much potential even towards the end of their relationship, while she looks at herself and sees a failed pre-med who is only getting promoted because her boss thinks she's hot. Now Dean has growing insecurity. He is unreasonably jealous and protective, even though the plot proves him to be right. Dean became this way because Cindy is one foot in this relationship, and mostly because of his mother's divorce. Dean is insecure. He can feel that there is something wrong. And because they don't communicate, their relationship is consumed with insecurity. Dean is very modest to the point that he can't see his own pro's. He only sees his cons. And since he was sensing this for a while, he becomes more and more desperate.
I feel that the movie epitomises the reality of one sided relationships. We see Dean who does nothing but work on the relationship, trying to take her away for a night out, asking her is there is 'anything' he can 'change'. But Cindy, in her own confusion, decides that Dean is not good enough or that she deserves better, from what I see personally, the way she feels lost after she sees Bobby at the store. It's almost as if she is trying to contemplate what her life would be like if she had just stayed with Bobby. Which for me as a viewer is quite upsetting because it's clearly portrayed that he doesn't love her as much as Dean.
I don't think they will get back together and as much as it breaks my heart, I think it is what is right. Dean doesn't deserve to be in a marriage where he constantly feels like he is the 'bad guy'; likewise he and Cindy share very different views and want to live different lifestyles. Cindy is selfish and Dean just wants a family and someone to love. Their relationship was built on temporary love and, for Cindy, convenience.
Wow, I couldn't disagree with some of the other posters more.
Cindy was being the responsible parent, making breakfast for Frankie and taking her to school. You can criticise the way she made the oatmeal and did the other chores, but she was the one doing them. Dean just wants to play, and Frankie of course loves that but as adults how can you not see that Cindy was coping with raising two children?
Then Dean essentially rapes Cindy (he literally forces himself on her as she says no and scratches him), and then he goes to her work and makes a scene which includes vandalism and assault. And you're all calling her the selfish one?
She does try with him: she tries to connect emotionally, talking about his personality (his talents and what he wants from life) and then play-fights with him; but his attempts to connect with her are either physical or a prelude to physicality. Yes he does try and it's frustrating for him that she doesn't love him anymore, but the poor woman was drowning and did nothing wrong by falling out of love with him.
I don't want to be saying any of this because I had sympathy for both characters and I don't want to sound like someone who cries 'rape' when Aziz Ansari has a bad date, but you guys are taking it way too far in the other direction and it's literally unbelievable to me that you can't see her massive virtue or his massive glaring flaws.
So my theory is that Cindy lost the baby, or the child died at some point before the film is set. Frankie is actually Deans child. This explains why all the characters age by about 20years (especially Cindy's dad) and Frankie is still only 7 or 8. Also, Bobby would have known about the child as they were still at school, and he didn't ask about 'her' when he saw Cindy in the shop.
This explains why Cindy is so distant throughout the film and why Dean drinks in the mornings. They are both dealing with the loss of the first child, none more so than Cindy.
The relationship can't sustain the pressure and so we witness the final stages of the end of their marriage.
Hints are given about this with the loss of Rosie, the dog. Given the dogs age (from scenes where Dean is watching VHS) they probably got her to cope with the death of the first child, before they had Frankie, which explains why they are so upset. The film gives special emphasis on making sure those scenes are digested by the viewer.
So, the end scene is played out and I think that it is now easier to understand, when looking at it with the above in mind!