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film review: take this waltz

Hollywood doesn’t anecdote the ‘happily ever after’ of modern love anymore without doctoring it with clichés, 30 second orgasms and a sense of overall perfection.  This is what Sarah Polley tried to steer away from when she wrote and directed Take This Waltz.

Take This Waltz is not a feel good comedy.  It is a rich depiction of human familiarity contrasting against the uncertainty of new desire.   The film haunts us with the perpetual question, “there’s always a gap in life, you just don’t go crazy trying to fill it…do you?”

Seemingly happily married 28 year old Margot (Michelle Williams) catches the eye of her handsome neighbour Daniel (Luke Kirby) after a chance meeting on an assignment and then again on a plane, and is torn between the safe, companionship of her husband Lou (Seth Rogen) and the dangerous affair with this new man.

The film bitterly portrays domestic aridity that runs rampant in the everyday household.  Lou and Margot’s dry relationship speaks in volumes of what happens when familiarity replaces intimacy. The couple are playful and childish with each other and yet their mind games appear emotionally stunted.  They don’t have sex, meaningful conversation or children and overall they seem to be hanging pitifully in a ‘five year relationship’ limbo.

Enter the stiflingly hot interplay between Margot and neighbour, Daniel.  Their eroticism is repressed over hushed conversation and meaningful eye contact and yet, it’s so much more arousing without ubiquitous sex in every scene, because the anticipation is such a turn on. Williams and Kirby perfectly encapsulate their character’s anticipatory climax with remarkable ingenuity, particularly Michelle Williams who always beguiles her audience with understated charisma.

Almost every character is relatable.  From kind yet daft husband Lou, who is content with the confinements of stale marriage, to naieve Margot who doesn’t wear makeup or even act remotely adult and who ultimately just wants to feel alive.  The only character who seems a missing puzzle piece is Daniel.  He’s suave, handsome and seems a little too perfect, balancing confidence with an over exaggerated interest in the taken woman.

The film is set in Toronto, featuring scenic backdrops and a cocktail of summer colours for the romantic in us all.  Take This Waltz asks us to ask ourselves “When we have it all and we still feel empty…where do we seek fulfilment?”

Four Stars.

– Written by Sophia Anna

2 thoughts on “film review: take this waltz

  1. I really liked this movie, although there were certain things that irked me, like the fact that they were all living quite comfortably despite having “jobs” that invariably pay very little, and Michelle Williams’ character got a touch too airy fairy manic pixie at times…but I really liked that she was still happy and in love with her husband, and there didn’t seem to be any resentment or hostility (a la Blue Valentine). Wonderfully engaging and a real joy to watch – Sarah Silverman was great too.

  2. I agree, Dunja. Margot unnerved me a little because of her neuroses. One never quite knows what’s wrong with her. They seem to have type casted her into these sort of relationship roles.

    She’s brilliant in My Week With Marilyn.

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