Entertainment » Movies

Take This Waltz

by Kevin Taft
Contributor
Tuesday Nov 13, 2012
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My nomination for the "feel bad movie of the year," "Take This Waltz" was written by talented actress, writer and filmmaker Sarah Polley ("Away from Her") and can be described only as a film about the disappointment of marriage. It stars Michelle Williams ("My Week with Marilyn") and Seth Rogen ("Knocked Up") as Margot and Lou (respectively ), a young hipster couple living in a kitchy neighborhood in Toronto whose marriage is threatened when Margot meets the handsome Daniel (Luke Kirby) who lives across the street. Because her relationship with her husband reads as almost infantile, her attraction to Daniel harkens a more adult and intimate connection that the two refuse to consummate even with a kiss. But as her relationship with her husband gets more and more strained, she seeks out that missing bond with Daniel.

"Take This Waltz" is a frustrating film. On the one hand, it is strikingly well shot by Luc Montpellier and the colorful and eclectic production design by Matthew Davies is delicious. The script by Polley is very astute with recognizable situations, but the problem is that the dialogue is so spot on and the characters say things that are so self-aware, it comes across as false. (Margot fakes being injured in airports so she will be aided by a stewardess in getting to her flights because she "fears connections." Really? )

Williams is a phenomenal actress and can say more with a look then most actresses can say with an entire monologue. But here she is both fantastic and uncomfortably awkward. In her goofier scenes she seems to be overdoing it so much that it didn’t ring true. Only when she’s struggling to hold on to her sanity does she come across naturally. Let’s face it, Williams’ characters always seems to be right on the verge of revealing some sort of mental impedance. Regardless, she is undeniably watchable.

In this, it’s hard to totally recommend the film. I was with it for its almost two hour running time and there are some terrific scenes. Even Sarah Silverman’s small role as a recovering alcoholic is refreshing (although I have now seen more of her than I ever wanted to). But ultimately, my feeling is if you are getting married or really want to, avoid this like the plague. Because you will truly feel awful and the prospect of a fulfilling relationship will seem impossible. Thanks, Sarah Polley.

Special Features:

An interesting 38-minute ’Making of’ featurette that reveals more about the characters and production design with interviews with Polley, cast and crew.

A short AXS TV "A Look at ’Take This Waltz’" that plays like an extended trailer.

"Take This Waltz"
Blu-ray $29.98
www.magpictures.com

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to ’Star Wars’ and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg. He can be seen in the flesh on the weekly PBS movie review series "Just Seen It."

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