Reviewed by GREG KING
Director: Sarah Polley
Stars: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby.
Canadian actress Sarah Polley (The Sweet Hereafter, Go, etc) has always brought a fierce intelligence and compassion to her sensitive portrayals of wounded and conflicted women, and she brings the same qualities to her films behind the camera as a director interested in personal and very human stories. As a director she makes some interesting and challenging choices. Away From Her was a touching drama about a woman with Alzheimer’s disease.
Take This Waltz is a drama about a woman trapped in a rather boring marriage who decides to take a risk and add a bit of spice to her life. It explores themes of infidelity, melancholy, marriage, doubt and desire. Take This Waltz gets its title from the Leonard Cohen song that inspired Polley while she was writing the script, and which shapes the often melancholy mood of the film.
Margot (played by Michelle Williams) is a hopeful travel writer who is married to the dependable but boorish Lou (Seth Rogen), who is working on a cookbook on various ways to cook chicken. But Margot has grown a little bored with her married life. While returning from a trip she meets the handsome and charming Daniel (Luke Kirby), and enjoys a bit of harmless flirting. But when she learns that Daniel is a struggling artist who lives just down the road, she gives into temptation.
There are a few contrivances and coincidences here that stretch credulity a bit – for instance, how has Margot not noticed Daniel and his rickshaw before now?
The central trio of performances are all solid. Williams continues to impress with the range of her performances, and she again lights up the screen with her natural charm and beauty. Margot is a fully fleshed and three-dimensional character, and Williams brings an emotional truth to her internal struggle. Rogen is also good in a more serious role as the boorish Lou who doesn’t quite understand Margot or her needs.
Take This Waltz is also something of a love letter to Polley’s home town of Toronto, which is shot in vibrant warm colours by cinematographer Luc Montpellier (Tangled, Cell 213, Away From Her, etc).